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Much to do in fight against retail crime

More effective engagement between the retail business community and UK authorities is required as retail crime continues to increase, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The industry trade association says that "serious, organised offending is pushing up the cost of retail crime", which according to the association's most recent Retail Crime Survey totalled £1.6 billion in 2011-12. This represented a 16% year-on-year increase in the value of retail crime in the UK, with the average cost per incident of robbery up from £989 to £3,005.

On 1 October 2013, the BRC will host its annual Retail Crime and Loss Prevention event, entitled Tackling Retail Crime Together, where many of the issues surrounding problems facing the industry will be addressed. Colin Culleton, group security manager at fashion and homeware retailer Next, and Sainsbury's head of corporate security Phillip Hagon are among the confirmed speakers for the conference.

The BRC says that one of its main tasks in this field is to continue tackling the under-reporting of retail crime to highlight "the true extent and impact of crimes affecting the retail sector".

"It is important that crimes against the retail sector are not seen in isolation nor are they 'victimless' – they have an impact on our local communities as well as businesses," a spokesperson said.

"We work to promote more effective engagement between the police and retailers. There must be more effective engagement between the police, police and crime commissioners and the retail sector to ensure that the problems affecting retailers are clearly understood."

BRC's Retail Crime Survey found that customer theft accounted for 83% of all retail crime in terms of the number of incidents that occurred in 2011-12, while e-crime accounted for 37% of the total cost of crime during that period. The research also indicated that reporting to police has fallen, with only 12% of customer theft reported to police during the course of the year.

Essential Retail will be attending the BRC Retail Crime and Loss Prevention event, which is scheduled to be held at The America Square Conference Centre in London on 1 October.