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What Society pays for Crime against Shops
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What Society pays for Crime against Shops (2005)

New research by the Centre for Retail Research (based solely on national figures from the Home Office, Office of National Statistics, Scottish Office and the British Retail Consortium) show that the costs suffered by society as a result of retail crime are as large again as the crime-related losses of retailers.

The total cost to society of shop thieves is a massive £3.442 billion (equivalent to £115.91 for every UK taxpayer).

  • Almost one-half of this is the value stolen from retailers - £1.711 billion.
  • The public pays a further £1.731 billion (50.3% of the full total) through Police, Courts, and the Criminal Justice System dealing with thieves, as well as business disruption, retail security costs, and Government tax losses caused by retail crime.

These costs represent a considerable waste of national resources and could entirely fund a combination of 11,700 more beat constables, 9230 nurses, 5500 more classroom teachers, and 64 million new books in school libraries.

The figures have been calculated using social cost/benefit analysis techniques by Professor Joshua Bamfield, Director of the Centre for Retail Research, and funded by Checkpoint Systems UK.

The Social Costs of Retail Crime: Major Headings
  • The amount stolen by thieves from retail shops and stores is £1.711 billion (equivalent to six new fully-equipped hospitals).
  • The cost of retail crime to the Police, the Courts and the Criminal Justice System is £382 million – equivalent to 11,740 extra police constables on beat patrol.
  • Customs and Excise tax losses from retail crime amount to almost £170 million – equivalent to 5,500 classroom teachers.
  • Violence against staff costs £33 million and the lost wages and profits caused by crime-related disruption to retailers are £186 million - the same as 9,230 extra nurses or 13,850 more hospital cleaners.
  • The costs of retail security staff and anti-theft equipment are £960 million, enough to put 64 million new books in school libraries.

This annual burden of £3.442 billion of public – or social – costs of retail crime represents an average of £115.91 for every UK taxpayer - or £58.14 per head of the population each year.