Data: Shoplifting in Scotland soars to ‘appalling’ 10 year high


Shoplifting in Scotland has reached a 10-year high, in what the Scottish Retail Consortium has labelled “appalling” and is calling for it to be made a “greater priority by the authorities”.

Figures published in the Records Crime in Scotland 2023-24 report how that shoplifting has hit almost 40,000 offences in the past year, with acts of theft rising by 41% in 10 years,

The data shows that shoplifting has hit a ten-year high, following it rising continuously since 2014 – bar an initial dip in 2019 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

During 2023-2024 alone, shoplifting has soared by 35% to 38,674, a figure which the Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale called “appalling”.

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“It’s appalling that shoplifting has soared to a 10-year high. Despite record spending by retailers on crime prevention the rate of thefts continues to rise. In fact, these figures won’t even capture the full picture as many thefts aren’t reported by retailers as they believe little action will be taken,” said Lonsdale.

“Shoplifting isn’t a victimless crime. As these new figures show, shoplifting is the main factor behind abuse and threats towards shop workers and we know from member feedback that thieves are becoming bolder and more aggressive. The financial costs too are enormous and are ultimately borne by shoppers themselves; in some cases through higher prices on shop shelves.

Lonsdale added: “With a swathe of new mandated rules in the pipeline which may lead to more flashpoints in store, the SRC wants tackling crime against retailers to be made a greater priority by the authorities, including in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Police Priorities, to ensure our retail destinations are made safer.”

His comments come after both Labour and the Conservatives launched general election manifestos vowing to crackdown on retail crime if voted into power.



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