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Preventing shoplifting

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Shoplifting costs businesses thousands. Most items stolen from shops are taken because they are concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable. The following advice will help you protect your stock and business against shoplifting.

  • Know your risks – assess which stock might be a target, identify any hard-to-monitor areas, work out peak shopping times and ensure adequate staffing to monitor and deter would-be thieves
  • Train staff to be vigilant and alert to recognise thieves. Find more information on the methods used by shoplifters in our leaflet below
  • Good customer service helps prevent crime: greeting shoppers helps deter would-be shoplifters by reminding them they have been seen and noticed by staff
  • If you spot someone behaving oddly or suspiciously, let them know they have been seen by approaching and offering help, such as advice on a purchase, or say hello to them while rearranging stocky nearby
  • Use signs by entrance doors to make it clear shoplifting won’t be tolerated
  • Consider joining a local retail crime scheme. Contact the Northampton Retail Crime Initiative on 01604 629181 or email info@retailcrime.org for details of schemes in your area
  • Install CCTV to cover entrances, exits, high value and targeted stock. Your CCTV should be registered with the information commissioner’s office – for more information visit www.ico.gov.uk
  • Consider employing a security guard or store detective. This may be full- or part-time, or at key times of the day or year
  • Protect merchandise with electronic security tags, display boxes and lockable display cabinets
  • Conduct regular stock takes to identify losses promptly and highlight vulnerable items so they can be protected against future theft
  • Limit the number of young people allowed in at one time, or insist on children being accompanied by an adult
  • Decline entry to known offenders, asking them to leave if they have already entered the store
  • Establish rules for changing rooms in clothing stores
  • Never leave cash registers unlocked or unattended

Store design and layout tips for theft prevention

  • Reduce the number of exits, blind spots, corners and recesses
  • Install mirrors to cover any blind spots which remain
  • Ensure customers pass the till area and staff in order to exit the store
  • Don’t display stock near exit or entrance doors, and especially not high value or desirable goods such as alcohol
  • Install entry/exit chimes to alert staff to people entering the store
  • Create clear lines of sight in aisles and reduce the height of displays
  • Reduce crowding around display of high risk items
  • Move ‘hot products’ into higher security zones with more staff surveillance
  • Speed up the checkout to reduce congestion and waiting
  • Consider plastic screens in front of confectionery
  • Install display hooks which prevent an entire rail of stock being swept off and removed at once
  • Use good quality, lockable display cabinets for high value goods
  • Alarm unlocked exits (such as fire doors) and unused checkouts

Report retail crime on the non-emergency 101 number. If a crime is in progress or life is at risk, use 999.

To speak to our crime prevention team about preventing theft from retail premises email crimeprevention@northants.pnn.police.uk

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