East of England police areas record another increase in shoplifting

Crime / Sun 28th Apr 2024 at 10:18am

EAST of England constabulary areas record another increase in shoplifting – Usdaw concerned about the impact on retail staff.

Retail trade union Usdaw is deeply concerned by today’s police recorded crime statistics showing that in 2023 there were significant increases in shoplifting across all constabulary areas in the East of England. In the whole of England and Wales there has been a persistent upward trend since the pandemic, which continued with a 37% increase and has now risen to the highest level in 20 years.

The Office for National Statistics released figures showing a 27% increase in shoplifting incidents across the East of England and by constabulary area as follows:

  • Bedfordshire +14%
  • Cambridgeshire +39%
  • Essex +25%
  • Hertfordshire +32%
  • Norfolk +30%
  • Suffolk +15% 

Usdaw’s 2023 annual survey of over 5,500 shopworkers found that 60% had suffered incidents of violence, threats and abuse that were triggered by shoplifting and armed robbery.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime, theft from shops has long been a major flashpoint for violence and abuse against shopworkers. Having to deal with repeated and persistent shoplifters can cause issues beyond the theft itself like anxiety, fear and in some cases physical harm to retail workers. This 27% increase in shoplifting across the East of England is further evidence that we are facing an epidemic of retail crime, which is hugely concerning.

“Our members have reported that they are often faced with hardened career criminals in the stores and we know that retail workers are much more likely to be abused by those who are stealing to sell goods on. Our latest survey results show that 7 in 10 retail workers suffered abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence. 60% of respondents said theft from shops and armed robbery were triggers for these incidents.

“The scale of assaults, abuse and threats towards shopworkers and extent of the retail crime epidemic has been a disgrace for many years. This has been made worse by police cuts and a failure to legislate to protect retail staff. Usdaw has long called for action that includes a standalone offence for assaulting a shopworker and that has been vehemently opposed by this Government and their Conservative MPs on many occasions.

“Recently the Government performed a long overdue U-turn after many years of sustained campaigning by Usdaw and others. Our members have had to wait too long for their voices to be heard and common sense to prevail. We will have to see the detail of what Ministers are proposing and we are clear that it must be at least what we won in Scotland three years ago. It also cannot fall short of Labour’s commitments to 13,000 more uniformed officers, patrols on high streets, banning repeat offenders and ending the perverse £200 threshold for prosecuting shoplifters.

“The dither and delay by this Government on this issue over many years, has led to thousands of shopworkers needlessly suffering physical and mental injury. Today’s stats should ensure that their promise to legislate is done speedily. We hope that whatever the Government is proposing will be substantial and effective in giving shopworkers, key workers in every community, the respect that they have long deserved and regrettably too often do not receive.”

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2 Comments for East of England police areas record another increase in shoplifting:

Jack orwell
2024-04-29 04:53:39

Shoplifting and knife crime isn’t important anymore. It’s all about hate crimes and miss gendering! If you use the wrong pronouns you will be in serious trouble.

2024-04-29 09:43:48

Increasing shoplifting is an indicator of increasing desperation, an indictment of this government as if another one was needed.

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