POLICE officers aren’t turning up to 76% of shop thefts, according to new figures from the Co-op.
The retailer said it’s experienced almost 300,000 incidents of shoplifting, abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour this year, up 43% from last year.
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The figures are revealed just a month after shop-lifting hit a record-high in the UK, stats showing 365,164 offences were recorded in the year to June 2023.
Some crimes in the North-east are now not being investigated as part of a pilot project to give officers more time to focus on responding to emergencies.
There are warnings now that shop-lifting is only going to worsen into the festive period, as Co-op Managing Director Matt Hood issues a “desperate” plea to police.
He said: “We very urgently need to see it in action in our stores, so the desperate calls to the police from my front line colleagues are responded to and the criminals start to realise there are real consequences to their actions.”
Paul Gerrard, Co-op’s Director of Public Affairs, added that by not arresting offenders, it’s encouraging them to shop-lift again.
He said: “That’s actually worse than us not detaining them in the first place, because it means those people are going to leave stores saying we knew the police weren’t going to turn up, and they didn’t. And even though Co-op security teams detained me, they still didn’t turn up.”
The total value of retail sales in the UK is just under £440billion, according to British Retail Consortium figures.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Shoplifting is a blight on our communities. It damages businesses, hurts our high streets and the Policing Minister has made clear that police should be taking a zero-tolerance approach.”
“The Retail Crime Action Plan will drive down criminal behaviour and improve public confidence in the police response when it does occur. It will see police attending more crime scenes, patrolling badly affected areas and pursuing all reasonable lines of enquiry to catch more perpetrators.”