Figures collected by 27 police forces from across the UK and released under the Freedom of Information act has revealed an increase of shoplifting of more than 7% over the past four years.
The shocking statistic found there were 78,110 shoplifting incidents in 2017 compared to 74,662 in 2016, 74,124 in 2015 and 72,423 in 2014.
The rise of self-service checkouts at supermarkets is attributed as a major factor.
Other incomplete figures show there were a further 46,973 shoplifting incidents along with an additional 1,659 thefts at supermarkets during 2018 until the end of the summer period.
“These figures indicate that, despite the best efforts of our members, criminals are increasingly targeting supermarkets,” said James Martin, Crime and Security Adviser at The British Retail Consortium.
“Ultimately, the costs are borne by everyday shoppers and those who rely on retail for their livelihoods. We acknowledge the difficult resourcing and prioritisation decisions which police forces face, but it is clearly time that every police force gives retail crime the strategic priority it deserves.”
Data shows that there were over 400,565 shoplifting incidents between 2014-2018 made to the police to England and Wales, with a further 59,121 call-outs recorded by police from supermarkets, such as pickpocketing, bicycle theft and raiding coin meters.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “The sad fact is that as forces struggle to meet 999-call demand, incidents such as these are increasingly likely not to be attended by officers at all which, as a serving police constable with 26 years’ service, I find quite shocking.”