Major retail chains in the United Kingdom are taking drastic steps to combat the growing problem of shoplifting. The increase in theft has become so alarming that businesses like Primark, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s have equipped their employees with body cameras and implemented additional security measures such as security guards and CCTV systems. This comes as companies like Target, Foot Locker, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all reported significant losses in inventory due to theft, impacting their profits. The severity of the situation prompted department store chain John Lewis to describe shoplifting as reaching “epidemic” levels in Britain.
CEO of Primark owner Associated British Foods, George Weston, recently announced these new security measures, expressing his concern that the efforts by the police and Crown Prosecution Service are insufficient to address the escalating problem. Sainsbury’s was the first retailer to introduce body cameras for their employees in 2018 as part of a pilot program. Since then, they have expanded the use of body cameras to all Sainsbury’s stores, among other security measures like in-store detectives and security doors. They emphasize that the safety of their colleagues and customers is of the utmost importance.
Tesco’s Chief Executive, Ken Murphy, also stressed the need for immediate action to tackle this issue. He called for longer sentences for offenders who attack shop workers, citing the Scottish Protection of Workers Act as an example. This legislation made it a criminal offense to assault or abuse retail workers in Scotland. Murphy advocated for greater collaboration between businesses to share information and work closely with the police to effectively combat theft.
Although shoplifting decreased during the pandemic, the current surge in cases has prompted major UK retailers to take decisive action. The implementation of body cameras, increased security personnel, and advanced surveillance systems are aimed at deterring criminals and protecting both employees and customers. The objective is to reduce criminal activity and prevent disruptions that can impact prices and the overall shopping experience. With a united front, it is hoped that the collaborative efforts between retailers, law enforcement, and policymakers will effectively address the growing concern of shoplifting in the United Kingdom.