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Fed expresses alarm at ‘runaway’ shoplifting incidents.

Posted on in Business News

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has expressed alarm at new figures that show shoplifting at its highest level in 20 years.

Wine theft

According to the Office for National Statistics, shop thefts in England and Wales were up by 32% in the year to September 2023.

Fed national president Muntazir Dipoti said: “Shop theft is not victimless. It blights the lives of independent retailers on a daily basis and has significant implications for a store’s viability.

“I am sure that every member has been affected by shop theft at some point and, sadly, many incidents of shoplifting are becoming increasingly violent.”

He added that the cost-of-living crisis and social media have helped fuel the runaway increase in shoplifting offences.

“We are seeing regular customers turning to shoplifting because they can’t afford to live,” he claimed.

It was also possible that the levels were even higher, as many independent retailers were reluctant to report crimes because of poor police responses and “paltry” punishments if offenders did come to court.

Dipoti said: “Retailers are disillusioned by the lack of police action when crimes are committed, so they do not report them.

“Tackling shop theft has to be given the energy and priority it deserves from the police, police and crime commissioners and from MPs – and independent retailers should be given financial support so they can invest in better-quality CCTV to protect them, their staff and their businesses.”

Last year, the Fed launched its “Safe, Secure, Supported” campaign calling for government grants of £1,500 to help independent retailers beef up their security systems.

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