Record number of shoplifting crimes recorded in London

There were 57,210 shoplifting offences recorded by the Met Police in 2023 reports Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

A back view of a police officer in a high vis uniform wearing a hat.
Across England and Wales, shoplifting crimes jumped 37% with 430,104 recorded in the year to December 2023 – (Credit – Radar)

There was a record number of shoplifting offences recorded in London last year, new figures show.

The British Independent Retailers Association said urgent action must be taken to address the “concerning trend” to protect employees and customers.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 57,210 shoplifting offences recorded by the Met Police in 2023.

It was up 50% from 38,103 offences in 2022 and the highest since comparable records in 2003.

John Halliday, marketing director for Bira, said the latest figures “paint a troubling picture for independent retailers and businesses across the UK”.

He said: “Retail crime not only inflicts financial losses but also poses a grave threat to the safety and well-being of shop staff and customers.”

He added a survey by Bira found 35.5% of shop staff had experienced verbal abuse from individuals in their shop. Of those physically assaulted, 70% opted not to report the incidents to the police.

“It’s imperative that urgent action is taken to address this concerning trend and ensure the security of both businesses and their employees and customers,” he said.

Across England and Wales, shoplifting crimes jumped 37% with 430,104 recorded in the year to December 2023.

It was the highest level in 20 years.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said the figures were “sadly not surprising”.

He added: “Thieves are stealing on a regular basis without fear of apprehension, so it’s essential that every police force in the country takes theft seriously, not least because challenging thieves is one of the biggest triggers for abuse of shopworkers”.

The figures are likely to only represent a “fraction of the true picture on shop theft”, he said, as the “vast majority” end up not being reported.

Nick Stripe, from the ONS, said police recorded crime in the past 12 months shows “notable” increases in robbery, theft from the person and shoplifting.

The figures show 81,094 robberies were recorded in England and Wales in 2023, up 13% from the year before.

The number of offences involving theft from the person rose 18% from 2022, reaching 125,563 recorded crimes last year.

In London, there were 33,805 robbery offences in 2023, up from 27,626 the year before.

There were also 72,292 theft from the person offences recorded last year, a rise from 57,346 in 2022.

Crime and policing minister Chris Philp insisted the figures show “communities are safer and our plan to cut crime and protect the public is working”.

He added: “We know there is always more to do. Earlier this month, we set out tough new action to clamp down on shoplifting and through the Criminal Justice Bill, we are giving the police more powers to seize dangerous weapons.”

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else. £84 annual supporters get a print copy by post and a digital copy of each month's before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly 

More Information about donations