Shoplifting Reaches Record High in England and Wales

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed alarming figures, indicating that shoplifting in England and Wales has soared to unprecedented levels. In the year ending December 2023, police recorded a staggering 430,104 shoplifting offences, marking a 37% increase from the previous year’s 315,040 incidents. Frustrated retailers argue that the lack of police response and evidence gathering has effectively decriminalised this offence.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman acknowledged the unacceptable rise in shoplifting, reaffirming the government’s commitment to public safety and crime reduction. While highlighting the deployment of more police officers, investments in safer streets, and tougher sentences for offenders, the government recognizes the need for further action to protect retail workers and tackle repeat offenders.


Commenting on the situation, Troy Hewitt, CEO of Assist Security Group (ASG), a leading provider of bespoke security solutions, stated, “The surge in shoplifting is deeply concerning for retailers and the wider community. Businesses must take proactive measures to protect their assets and create a safe environment for customers and staff alike.”


Knife Crime Trend


The ONS figures also reveal a worrying trend in violent crime, with knife-related offences increasing by 7% to 49,489 in 2023, approaching the 2019 record high of 51,202. Since 2015, knife crime in England and Wales has risen by an alarming 80%, with violent knife muggings seeing a 19.6% increase. Gun crime has also risen by 9%.


Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasised the importance of addressing shoplifting, urging police to attend every incident and pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry to send a clear message that such crimes will not be tolerated. Cleverly highlighted the corrosive effect of crime on public confidence and the need for a safe public realm.


In response to the growing threat, retailers have implemented extreme measures to protect their stock, such as placing security tags on low-value items and altering store layouts. The financial impact has been substantial, with losses from shoplifting nearly doubling to £1.8 billion in 2022-23.


Troy Hewitt added, “In light of the current challenges, it’s essential for retailers to partner with experienced security providers who can offer tailored solutions. At ASG, we work closely with our clients to develop strategies that prevent losses, protect staff and customers, and create a welcoming environment that aligns with their brand and values.”


Despite government pledges to take action, including increased police presence and funding, retailers and the public are calling for more effective measures to combat the growing problem of shoplifting and its impact on businesses and communities.


ASG Services: Tailored Security Solutions


Assist Security Group (ASG) offers a range of specialised security services to help retailers, event organisers, corporate offices, hospitals, hotels, and railway operators mitigate risks and operate securely. With expertise in luxury retail security, event security, corporate security, hospital security, hotel security, and railway security, ASG develops bespoke strategies following their 6-Point Framework of Protection, Prevention, Presentation, Planning, People, and Partnership.


From on-site security personnel and close protection services to corporate intelligence and CCTV monitoring, ASG brings together the right people and leading technologies to create tailored solutions that match each client’s unique needs, brand, and culture. To learn more about how ASG can help protect your business, visit or contact

You may be reviewing your security plans, looking to resolve a specific issue or just want to know what’s new. ASG’s interactive Coffee & Catch-Up is an opportunity to find out about the options and opportunities for the safety and security of your business this year – Email: or call 0208 543 6670

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