Shoplifting hasn’t gone away, as British data compiled by the online platform OnBuy.com reminded us this week.
Using data from data.police.co.uk, OnBuy.com investigated the total number of shoplifting offences that were recorded by 43 police forces/constabularies across England and Wales in the financial year of 2016-17 (April 2016 – March 2017).
The number of shoplifting offences, defined by the police as “theft from shops or stalls”, was more than 360,000 for the year, up from 329,000 recorded in 2014-15.
The research showed that the Metropolitan Police had the highest number of shoplifting offences at 47,580 – the equivalent of 130 incidents a day. The Met was closely followed by West Midlands Police, who had 19,741 incidences of shoplifting reported. In third place was Greater Manchester Police, with 18,002 shoplifting offenses.
The least light fingered population, at least where shops were concerned, was found in the City of London, where police had the lowest number of shoplifting cases, with only 729 reported – the equivalent of 2 occurrences every day.
Dyfed-Powys Police had more than double that figure, with 1,533 shoplifting offenses. Above Dyfed-Powys Police came Cumbria Constabulary, who had 2,819 incidences of shoplifting.
OnBuy.com cites the results for the UK of the Global Theft Barometer in 2015, which produced an estimate of £800 million for retailers’ losses to shoplifting.
However shoplifting, as defined by the Barometer, and also by some police authorities, may include some ‘click and collect’ fraud. The British Retail Consortium came out with a lower figure for losses for retail theft and fraud combined in the UK last year.
Retail crime is believed to be under-reported and under-estimated in surveys. Lack of clarity around different police constabularies’ definitions of shoplifting could also be a problem with these figures.