BRC CRIME SURVEY 2023: Alarming Rise in Retail Violence and Abuse


The British Retail Consortium (BRC) released its annual Crime Survey 2023 earlier this year, shedding light on concerning trends in retail crime in the United Kingdom. This article highlights the key findings of the survey, emphasising the alarming rise in retail violence and abuse, the significant financial cost, and the urgent need for improved reporting and resourcing. 

Alarming Rise in Retail Violence and Abuse

The BRC survey reveals that incidents of violence and abuse against people working in retail have surged to over 850 per day. This represents a doubling of the figures from the pre-pandemic period, with incidents including racial and sexual abuse, physical assault, and threats involving weapons. The emotional and physical impact on retail workers is immense, necessitating immediate action to protect their safety.

The Financial Cost of Retail Crime

In addition to the personal toll, retail crime bears a staggering financial cost. The survey discloses that the total cost of retail crime in 2021/22 amounted to £1.76 billion. Customer theft alone accounted for £953 million, with approximately eight million reported incidents over the year. Retailers also had to spend £715 million on crime prevention measures in 2021/22. These costs, while necessary to protect colleagues, contribute to higher prices for customers as retailers strive to cover their increasing operating expenses.

The Need for Improved Reporting and Resourcing

In 2022, the BRC and other stakeholders successfully secured an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act. However, the Home Office’s failure to track and report the use of this amendment hampers efforts to understand its effectiveness. This lack of visibility makes it difficult to gauge the impact of the changes and determine the strategies needed to address retail crime effectively.

Call for Action

To tackle the unprecedented levels of violence and abuse faced by retail workers, 100 retail CEOs penned a letter to 41 Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales. The letter urged these authorities to prioritise retail crime in local policing strategies. Policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and retailers must work together to ensure the protection and safety of retail workers.


In conclusion, the BRC Crime Survey 2023 highlights the urgent need for action to address the rising levels of retail violence and abuse in the UK. The findings underscore the importance of improved reporting, increased prioritisation, and adequate resourcing from the police and government authorities. However, it is also crucial for retail businesses to take proactive measures to protect their workforce and secure their premises.

Effective Ways to Tackle Retail Crime

One effective way for retail businesses to enhance their security is by partnering with elite retail security companies. These specialised security providers have the expertise and resources to develop tailored security solutions that address the specific needs and challenges of retail environments.

Elite retail security companies offer a range of services that can benefit retail businesses. They can conduct thorough risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and design comprehensive security strategies to mitigate potential threats. These strategies may include deploying security personnel to deter crime, monitoring surveillance systems, implementing access control measures, and conducting regular training for staff on crime prevention and emergency response.

Furthermore, elite retail security companies often leverage advanced technology and data analytics to enhance their effectiveness. They can integrate cutting-edge surveillance systems with intelligent video analytics to detect and prevent theft, identify suspicious activities, and provide real-time alerts to security teams. These technologies can greatly improve the overall security posture of retail businesses, reducing the risk of incidents and enhancing the safety of both employees and customers.

By partnering with elite retail security companies, retail businesses can benefit from their specialised knowledge, experience, and resources. These partnerships allow businesses to proactively address security concerns, reduce losses from theft and crime, and create a safe and secure environment for their employees and customers.

In order to thrive in today’s challenging retail landscape, it is crucial for businesses to prioritise security and invest in comprehensive security solutions. By collaborating with elite retail security companies, businesses can gain a competitive edge, build consumer trust, and safeguard their operations and profitability in the long run.

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