26 April 2024

Inaugural Episode Of High Street Matters Reveals Startling Survey Data and Frontline Experiences

The debut episode of Bira's new "High Street Matters" podcast pulls back the curtain on the alarming rise in retail crime plaguing the UK's high streets. 


Hosted by journalist Steve Dyson, the hard-hitting premiere lays bare disturbing realities faced by independent retailers.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, unpacks the findings of their latest crime survey, painting a grim picture.


He said: "It's really troubling to see the feedback from members. It's startling to think that 96% of people who responded expressed a view that retail theft had gotten worse over the last 12 months."

Mr Goodacre added: "Retail theft has always existed, it's been quite low key to some extent but the scale of increase and it's not just the frequency of times that something is stolen from a shop but also the volume and value that has increased remarkably....there is clearly now a more organised crime element that is fuelling the rise of the retail theft crisis that we are currently experiencing."

Bira's 2024 survey revealed 35.5% of shopkeepers experienced verbal abuse - with a concerning 66% not reporting it. Of those assaulted, a shocking 70% opted not to alert police, while prosecutors declined to pursue 57% of cases where officers did respond.

Neil Mackay, MD and owner of Mackays of Cambridge DIY shop, recounts being repeatedly targeted, including a brazen heist by a 12-person gang earlier this year.


He said: "They walked in armed with cable cutters and cut all the cables on the power tools...cut the security tags off so they wouldn't set alarms off, then put the items in jackets and walked out with about £1,500 of power tools in less than three minutes."

Mr Mackay, who has worked in the sector for 40 years, highlights the escalating organised crime element.


He said:  "There is an element of opportunist crime but it's the organised crime that ravages our businesses and that's how it's becoming now."

The episode also explores potential solutions like facial recognition technology from Facewatch, the UK's leading facial recognition retail security company. Liam Ardern, their MD explains their system sends alerts when "subjects of interest" enter, with a 99.8% match rate, proven to "cut crime by up to 50%."

He said: "It's time for retail businesses to take a stand and proactively tackle theft head-on."

The explosive first episode of Bira's podcast exposing this crime wave against independents is available now. 


For the full interviews and more, listen to 'High Street Matters' wherever you get podcasts.


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