Crimes against convenience retailers are estimated to have cost £232m last year, according to the Association of Convenience Stores’ Crime Report 2017.

The report highlights the significance of shop theft, with more than half of the total cost of crime accounted for by theft from customers.

Key findings from the report include:

  • crime against convenience retailers cost an estimated £232m last year, which equates to an average of over £4,600 per store;
  • the total annual cost of shop theft to the convenience sector is more than £131m, or £2,600 per store with the most commonly stolen items being alcohol, meat and confectionery;
  • fraud cost convenience stores more than £8m last year;
  • incidents of staff theft cost convenience stores around £61m last year;
  • there were more than 9,400 incidents of violence against convenience store staff and owners estimated last year.

The report also shows the measures that are being taken by convenience stores owners and managers to tackle crime in their area, with each store in the sector spending an average of more than £3,900 per year on crime prevention measures including CCTV, more secure cash storage methods and external security staff.

Minister for vulnerability, safeguarding and countering extremism, Sarah Newton said: “Retail crime harms businesses, consumers and communities while violent crime can have a devastating impact on the victim. This government is acting to tackle both violent and retail crime, by identifying what drives criminals and bringing together new research, techniques and technology  to prevent offending and bring perpetrators to justice.

“We are working closely with police and retailers to improve our understanding of the nature of crimes against the sector. Just last month our work with police and petrol station retailers, led by ACS, saw us introduce new measures to tackle fuel theft.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Over the last year, many retailers have reported a significant increase in the level of crime against their stores. There are many factors influencing this, including investment in crime detection measures such as CCTV and external security which has led to retailers being more aware of the theft occurring in their stores.

“Unfortunately, the vast majority of what are perceived to be low level crimes such as shop theft still go unreported to police. Shop theft is not a victimless crime, and must be taken seriously by the police. The current laws around shop theft do not adequately capture those who are repeat offenders stealing low value items (less than £200) on a regular basis, and we believe this needs to change.

“We encourage retailers to build relationships with their local police forces and show them the damage, both financial and human, that theft and other crimes do to them and their staff.”

The Crime Report also features guidance for retailers and their staff to reduce the impact of crime in their stores, as well as information about what to do when crime occurs.

To download a copy of the 2017 Crime Report, click here.