Why won't police act on shoplifters?

19 September, 2008

Managing an

off -licence in central London definitely has its ups and downs

- the major down lately being an increase in shoplifting.

Today I have stopped two people, on separate occasions, shoplifting in my store. The perpetrators stroll


when it's busy, pick up a case of beer from the floor displays

then nonchalantly


I run after one and politely request the stock back . The other I scream at from across the store, which has the desired effect and the young man even apologi ses . Two lucky occasions for me.

Over the past few months I have collected six CCTV videos which show

six different people shoplifting in my store. All

these incidents have been reported to the local police and I have emphasised that I have the criminals caught on camera. Today all six tapes remain on my desk as the police appear to de em these offences not worthy of their time.

Working for a large company, our policy is not to intervene with shop lifters as this may put our safety at risk. A policy I haven't been strictly adhering to lately.

So what are my choices?

If I don't confront these thieves they will perceive my store as an easy target and continue waltzing in and helping themselves

- which will not only be costly to the business (for every

1 lost it takes 12

of sales to recover the cost), it also costs me my bonus and reputation.

I can hardly believe there are so many dishonest people in my area, even though I witness their behaviour daily. How are those in head office meant to believe such a high shoplifting rate exists in my store?

Perhaps if the police paid a little more attention to the "small stuff" this would deter thieves from further criminal behaviour.

A lot of research out there

concludes that when people are let off minor offences they progress to committing more detrimental crimes. Does society need to wait for these further crimes to be committed?

For now, my sternest voice will be my weapon of choice, as well as a fast 10m sprint.

Store manager,

central London

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