By Claire West

Retailers are telling the story that they are witnessing a distinct increase in shoplifting and violence which they claim is a direct result of the recession.

The most recent crime review by the trade body the British Retail Consortium shows retail theft carried out by the public increased by a third between 2008 and 2009.

It makes outrageous reading that a shop theft takes place almost every minute of the day, twenty four hours a day, and is one reason why business experts are requesting that the police and those others who are in authority take retail theft more seriously.

Not only did this review show an increase in retail theft but more ominously, hostility against employees also rose and as a result shopkeepers are asking the police to do more to look after them and their stock.

It is said that twenty two thousand employees all over the country claim they have been under attack by customers and a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium states that the police and others in the criminal justice system do not take retail theft seriously enough.

The study carried out the BRC encompassed sixty leading stores, who between them have over one million employees and has a market coverage of almost half.

Financially the monetary cost to the UK retail market of the half a million thefts equates to just over 1 billion GBP.

And even this figure could be understated, as it has been suggested that the actual figure could be far higher as many crimes are going unreported, possibly double what we are seeing here.

This is not a victimless crime and many in society will try and convince you otherwise but just remember it will be the honest customer who suffers the additional monetary costs, whilst it is left to the unfortunate employee to bear the emotional and psychological cost that comes from suffering an attack in the workplace.

Given the current financial and social climate you may be wondering if this situation like to resolve itself without any positive action being taken by the UK retail industry.

It would seem unlikely that this situation would resolve itself given time, simply put we are in the middle of the most difficult of times where the government has had to implement the most severe budget cuts in history with none of the public sector bodies escaping. This in turn means that the police will be working with a reduced amount of funding and as such, retail theft will not be a priority issue.

If you couple this with those affected by the recession and the spending cuts then you will find an ever increasing populace who are getting more and more desperate to maintain the lifestyle they were once accustomed too.

These people may have a direct or indirect effect on the retail sector as they may be the ones committing the shoplifting act or they may have a professional thief steal to order, which one it is does not matter as the overall result is the same.

There is no real short term answer to this, retailers are going to have to realise that this will not go away overnight and of its own volition, it needs affirmative action and that can only be done by enhancing their store security.

For further information contact the Retail Security Manager's website: