The Co-op is extending its trial of anti-theft ‘dummy display packaging’ for some of its targeted products, as the supermarket looks to deter rising levels of crime driven by repeat offenders and organised crime gangs.
The empty packaging from the convenience retailer will be used across higher value products – frequently targeted by criminals for re-sale.
The products include coffee, washing powder and laundry gel, with shoppers now having to take the dummy display case to the till where it is exchanged for the actual product.
The Co-op has previously used the anti-theft packaging in a limited number of stores and expects it to “continue to become a more familiar feature in retailing”.
Last month, the Co-op said that crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour has become “out of control,” with more than 175,000 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2023.
It has also invested more than £200m in colleague and community safety in recent years.
Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free
Director of operations at the Co-op Kate Graham commented: “Crime in many communities is increasing, and it is known that repeat and prolific offenders and, local organised criminal gangs are driving serious incidents of brazen and violent theft in stores.
“It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and often a flashpoint for attacks and abuse towards our colleagues. Co-op continues to invest significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe.”
She added: “This includes extending our use of dummy display cases to deter the incidents of ‘bulk-shoplifting’ or, ‘looting’, as it has been described, where criminals sweep products off shelves for re-sale.
“While we are doing all we can, we also need the police to play their part as too often, Forces fail to respond to desperate calls by our store teams and criminals operate in communities without any fear of consequences.”
Speaking to The Telegraph recently, Co-op managing director Matt Hood expressed that he is “disappointed” over people defending shoplifting behaviour – which comes following concerns that supermarkets could be profiteering as food prices continued to rise.