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How can retailers combat theft?

Recent data from the British Retail Consortium* and the Association of Convenience Stores** (ACS) reveals a concerning surge in retail crime to unprecedented levels.

This increase is driven by a combination of consumer theft from struggling households grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, alongside rises in mortgage and rent payments and other household expenses. Organised crime gangs conducting targeted thefts and unscrupulous employees also contribute to this security challenge.

The magnitude of these losses directly affects profitability, especially at a time when retailers are navigating a challenging economic environment and shifting consumer buying patterns towards online purchases.

Unsurprisingly, both bricks-and-mortar retailers and their online supply chain counterparts in distribution centres are actively seeking ways to mitigate these losses.

Strategies to Prevent Retail Theft

The following outlines some of the strategies retailers are employing to counteract theft:

  • Integrating facial recognition technology into CCTV to identify known shoplifters.
  • Equipping employees with body cameras to continually record store activities.
  • Implementing receipt scanning at exits to verify all goods have been paid for.
  • Modifying point-of-sale displays to limit the amount of stock on open display.
  • Expanding the use of product security tagging to high value as well as goods with high appeal
  • Strengthening access control measures.

Although some of these steps may inconvenience innocent shoppers, considering the BRC survey’s revelation of a total retail crime cost of £1.76 billion in 2021/22, with £953 million attributed to customer theft from 8 million incidents, it becomes evident why retailers have had to adopt more stringent measures to safeguard their profits. Furthermore, these losses could potentially prompt retailers to raise prices to offset the impact.

Benefits of Retail Security Systems

The most effective security measures to curtail theft risk include intruder alarms, access control systems and CCTV surveillance cameras.

Retailers and distribution centres are increasingly implementing or expanding existing access control systems and creating specialised storage areas for high-value goods, with restricted access limited to trusted employees. This not only enhances security but also improves the tracking of goods received and sold through accurate audit trails.

Integration of AI and facial recognition software into CCTV is also becoming commonplace. Biometric software like Facewatch aids in tracking suspects and identifying known offenders as they enter a store.

Benefits delivered include:

  • Enhanced stock and loss control
  • Theft deterrent
  • Evidence of loss to support further action
  • Marketing data to aid store planning
  • Easy remote monitoring solutions
  • Controlled access
  • Protection of high-value assets
  • Early warning of un-authorised access
  • Supports health and safety processes and culture

How can Tecserv UK help?

Efficient security systems play a pivotal role in loss prevention and overall security.

Tecserv UK collaborates with store owners and facilities managers to understand building layouts and security needs. This ensures the installation of suitable intruder alarms, CCTV, and access control systems.

These security measures can include access control using keypad, card, or biometric operation, accurately recording building entries and exits while controlling access to restricted areas. CCTV not only monitors hidden spaces but also deters theft and provides high-definition images for potential legal actions.

Additionally, Tecserv offers guidance to store managers and warehouse managers on educating staff about their impact on security. Practices like entering in groups or sharing passes can lead to inaccurate record keeping and potential security and fire hazards.

Get in Touch

To learn more about the advantages of installing access control, CCTV surveillance equipment, or intruder alarms, and how Tecserv UK can aid in safeguarding your personnel, processes, and assets, please don’t hesitate to contact us or complete the inquiry form.


** https://www.acs.org.uk/research/crime-report-2023

Colin Milligan

Colin joined Tecserv UK Ltd in 2010. He has been in the fire and security industry for 30 years + and in that time has held a number of senior positions. His experience helps to bring focus and growth to our sales and marketing strategy by being objective driven and KPI measured.

Posted on: 10 August 2023
Last updated: 15 August 2023
Posted in: Advice, Retail, Security
Author: Colin Milligan