Huge Increase In Shop Lifting – Action Required

Neil Johnston, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has called for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to outline a plan of action in response to a huge increase in the recorded level of shoplifting. With shoplifting often a trigger for abuse or violence towards shop staff, the NIRC are also calling on the NI Executive to introduce additional legal protections for shop workers, as is the case in Scotland and being introduced in England and Wales.

“Recorded instances of shoplifting are up by a huge 19.5% in one year. It is clear that we need the PSNI to devote more attention to this problem.”

“We know from the British Retail Consortium Crime Survey published in February that this is a wide UK problem. Shoplifting has soared to unprecedented levels, with losses to retailers doubling in the last year to £1.8 billion. “

“It is not just an issue of scale; retailers talk about how the nature of these thefts has changed. Thieves have become bolder and more aggressive, and the impact on retail workers is severe, extending far beyond the workplace, affecting their physical and emotional well-being. The industry is understandably frustrated. While retailers have spent record sums on crime prevention to protect their colleagues, the response from government and law enforcement has been inadequate.”

“We appreciate the efforts of the PSNI, and it is reassuring to see the figures for other crime categories going down, but we need a specific response given the scale of the increase from 7,511 incidents in the year to March 2023 to 8,979 incidents in the year to March this year. With shoplifting often a trigger for abuse and violence, we need MLAs to ensure shop workers in Northern Ireland get the same legal protection from assault as their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.”

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