While customer theft fell, partly due to reduced footfall meaning there was greater visibility of customers and therefore less of an opportunity to steal, the rise in employee theft can be attributed to retailers investing heavily in detection tools such as data mining software. This means that offences are being detected sooner, according to the BRC, while a more stable workforce also allows any discrepancies to be more apparent. The incidence of employee theft rose to 6.8 incidents per 1,000 employees.
“Once a criminally inclined employee has identified a flaw in a retailer’s security they maximise the financial gain they can achieve. It is likely that the employee will repeat it as long as there is a security failure,” says the BRC.
Despite the pressures of the current economic climate the number of robberies fell – down by 55% and accounting for 2% of all retail crime by value. The average value per incident fell by 59% from £2,077 to £847 with 4 incidents per 100 outlets. The figures support the latest statistics from the British Security Industry Association that show Cash and Valuables in Transit robberies fell by around 30% compared to last year. However the survey identified that some robberies were being displaced to smaller retailers.
Robert Cummings, Head of Loss Prevention at Loomis UK, said the figures were encouraging but that retailers shouldn’t be complacent. “Although we have seen a fall in the number of robberies the rise in employee theft shows the importance of retailers staying on top of protecting their cash both inside and outside of their stores.”