Shoplifting rises 10% as PSNI launches scheme to help retailers
Shoplifting has increased by 10% in Northern Ireland over the last three years, according to the latest police figures.
Offenders range from the desperate and vulnerable to opportunistic snatch and run thieves or organised crime gangs that can target multiple shops in a single stealing spree.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said: "Shoplifting is a very real issue for businesses."
Although there has been a reduction in commercial robberies and burglaries, shoplifting now accounts for a quarter of all thefts in Northern Ireland and 6.5% of all recorded crime in the region.
Mr Noble described the rise as "concerning" and said shoplifters were using a variety of tactics.
"It does move from basic grab and leave up to some of the more technological type pieces of equipment to defeat store security," he added. "It is always changing and shifting because quite clearly criminals are quite inventive in their own right."
Mr Noble was speaking at the launch of the PSNI's new Safe Shop Scheme which is being rolled out across Northern Ireland to educate retailers about crime prevention.
Angus Miller, store manager of Cotswold on Castle Lane, Belfast, said his staff were more confident when tackling shoplifters as a result of the initiative.
He said: "Initially they would have been nervous about approaching shoplifters.
"The biggest change now is that, as part of the training process, they have learned how to approach shoplifters once you know they have offended and how to detain them.
"They feel a bit safer doing it and feel more empowered as a result of the scheme."
Retailers wishing to make use of the Safe Shop Scheme should contact 101 and ask to speak to their local crime prevention officer.