Retail crime has seen a sharp rise over the last year, as both online fraud and “intolerable” shop worker abuse incidents climb, costing £660 million.
New data from the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual retail crime survey have found that incidents of abuse and violence against staff has risen by 40 per cent in the past year.
Between 2015 and 2016 there were 51 incidents of violence and abuse against staff per 1000 staff, compared to just 41 in the prior year.
It cites concern within the sector that “that offenders are able to act with impunity” and that existing measures are not enough to deter criminals.
Warnings were also issued over the growing threat of cybercrime, with 53 per cent of fraud crimes in retail now occurring online.
The study found that retailers lose £100 million to phishing and cyber fraud a year.
“These figures reflect a deeply concerning trend. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, as are attempts to defraud customers,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
A significant aspect of the cyber security challenge for retailers is the attractiveness of customer data from the point of view of criminals, many of whom operate outside UK borders but can nevertheless gain relatively easy access to UK digital networks.
“Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But this rising tide should be stemmed through even stronger cooperation between industry, the government, law enforcement and the private security industry.
There is work to do to further improve collaboration between the UK retail industry and its partners, and raise standards of security and policing of these threats across the country.”