SHOPLIFTING appears to affect every retailer in the Scottish convenience sector, a new report has found, with perpetrators often subjecting staff members to violent or verbal abuse.
The results of the latest Scottish Grocers’ Federation annual retail crime survey, based on data from independent convenience stores, found 100% of respondents had experienced shoplifting.
Those findings were backed up by figures from Police Scotland which show that in 2016 there were 28,000 incidents of shoplifting across Scotland.
This year’s crime report found most retailers experience shoplifting at least once per month, with 9% reporting daily theft, 8% weekly and 58% monthly. The remaining 25% reported experiencing theft on an annual basis.
Nine in ten survey respondents also said they had experienced incidents of physical and verbal abuse in-store during 2016.
The biggest triggers for abuse in convenience stores was centred around alcohol with refusal of sale and asking for proof of age most likely to lead to an abusive incident.
Of those who responded to the survey, one third said they had received abuse when refusing sale on an annual basis with another third reporting monthly abuse. A further 17% said they receive abuse for refusal of sale on a daily basis with 9% reporting daily incidents.
When asking for proof of age, the frequency of abuse was the same across the board.
The report also covered incidents of robbery and housebreaking.
Of those surveyed, 27% said they had experienced a housebreaking incident while 17% said they had been subjected to armed robbery.
The relatively high incidents of theft, abuse, assault and housebreaking were found despite those surveyed spending an average of £2,500 per store on crime prevention measures in 2016.
SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said the crime report shows that “shoplifting is a growing problem for convenience stores” and that “physical and verbal abuse are day-to-day realities” for many stores”
“Increasingly retailers are being asked to implement legislation within their stores, particularly around age verification.
“It’s when they try to do this that they suffer within their stores, particularly around age verification,” said Cheema.
Assistant chief constable Mark Williams of Police Scotland said violence and abuse directed at shop workers “is completely unacceptable.”
“Tackling all forms of violence remains a key priority within Police Scotland and we are working really closely with partners like the Scottish Grocers Federation to prevent crime, protect individuals and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.