New research by the trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that incidents of theft have increased by 27% across ten of the largest cities in the UK.

The data also shows that the incidents grew by as much as 68% in some cities.

In addition, the trade association’s recent crime survey revealed that incidents of violence and abuse against retail employees increased from more than 450 per day in 2019-2020 to more than 850 per day last year.

Crime against employees includes racial abuse, sexual abuse, physical assault and threats with weapons.

In response to the rising retail crime, BRC has urged mayors, police and crime commissioners across the UK to improve retail workers’ protection measures.

It also called on local governments to prioritise retail crime in local policing strategies.

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By GlobalData

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Every time I speak with retailers, crime is getting worse. Thieves are becoming bolder and more aggressive. Violence and abusive behaviour are on the rise. Many employees are facing threats with weapons, physical assault and racial and sexual abuse.

“While these confrontations might be over in a matter of minutes, for many victims, their families and colleagues, the physical and emotional impact can last a lifetime. Retailers are playing their part, investing nearly £1bn into crime prevention measures in the past year alone.

“But more needs to be done. We know that Andy Burnham and Kate Green will be concerned about the impact of such crime on local retail workers, so we ask them to ensure Manchester’s police force is giving retail crime the focus and resources it so desperately needs.”

Last month, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) in the UK reported that convenience stores have registered an estimated more than 1.1 million incidents of theft in 2022.