ASDA chairman claims shoplifting has been 'decriminalised'

ASDA chairman claims shoplifting has been ‘decriminalised’ as police don’t see it as a crime anymore

  • Read more: Police should investigate all instances of shoplifting, says minister 

ASDA chairman Lord Stuart Rose has said shoplifting has effectively been ‘decriminalised’ thanks to lack of police action.

Lord Rose, who was previously the boss of Marks & Spencer, said the authorities have turned their heads away from a shocking wave of crime being battled by shop staff.

He also echoed calls by the boss of Tesco for more to be done to protect workers from attacks and blamed complacent authorities which have ‘allowed’ lawlessness.

‘Theft is a big issue,’ he said speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari yesterday. ‘It has become decriminalised. It has become minimised.’

He added: ‘It’s actually just not seen as a crime anymore. We’ve become risk averse.

Kirk Wharton is seen on CCTV stashing item in his coat in a foiled shoplifting attempt

Lord Stuart Rose (pictured) said authorities have turned their heads away from a shocking wave of crime being battled by shop staff

‘The police have got lots of other things to do, although Suella Braverman now says that all crime will be investigated, so let’s see what happens.’

READ MORE: Gails boss calls for crackdown on ‘scary phenomenon’ of widespread shoplifting and aggressive customers after Tesco gives body cameras to staff to deter assaults

His comments came after a rallying cry by Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy for the Government and police to help supermarkets to better protect staff from abuse.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, the boss of the country’s largest supermarket called for English laws to ‘go further’ and make abuse or violence towards retail workers an offence in itself, as in Scotland.

He also called for ‘better links between police forces and businesses’ to both take criminals to task and prevent incidents in the first place, as he pledged to offer a body camera to every frontline Tesco store worker.

The British Retail Consortium found that incidents of violence and abuse against retail workers almost doubled from more than 450 per day in 2019-20 to more than 850 last year.

Mr Murphy said physical assaults at Tesco were up by a third on this time last year.

Lord Rose said Mr Murphy’s push to raise awareness on staff safety was ‘very important’ and said ‘we do have to be careful about how our staff are exposed to dangers’.

When asked why such a state of lawlessness had occurred, Lord Rose said: ‘Well, because we’ve allowed it to happen.’

Police should have a zero tolerance approach to shoplifting and investigate all instances, policing minister Chris Philp has said. Pictured: Officers on Oxford Street 

But Lord Rose stopped short of agreeing that all Asda store staff should wear body cameras, saying this would not be ‘a good place to be’.

He said: ‘I don’t really want to get to a world where we, you know, you sit down and everybody’s photographing everybody else for whatever action they take.’

Last year retailers spent £953million on anti-crime measures, including increased security personnel, body worn cameras and more CCTV, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The industry group claims that retailers are reluctant to report incidents of retail crime as in many cases the police rarely turn up, resulting in a vicious cycle.

The pandemic – which saw supermarket staff brave the risk of Covid – is thought to have triggered an increase in abuse towards shop workers.

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