M&S boss says police no longer interested in tackling shoplifting

Archie Norman claimed his staff get ‘very little help from the police’ amid record levels of shoplifting in the UK ((M&S/PA))
Archie Norman claimed his staff get ‘very little help from the police’ amid record levels of shoplifting in the UK ((M&S/PA))

The chair of Marks and Spencer has said the police are “not interested” in shoplifting, which has risen to record levels in the UK overall.

Archie Norman said his staff get “very little help from the police” when dealing with theft and said the company has spent a lot of money on preventative measures.

He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “We have store detectives, technology, camera systems ... we monitor all our stores, not least because if somebody is threatened we can intervene.”

Mr Norman, a former Conservative MP, said theft had gone down at M&S partly because of the preventative measures put in place by the company.

He said: “We get very little help from the police. I mean, I think we have to accept the police are not interested in this sort of crime anymore. Whether we like it or not, that’s the way it’s gone.”

Some of the country’s biggest retailers have sounded the alarm over rising levels of shoplifting and abuse against staff.

Co-op said there were more than 300,000 incidents of shoplifting, abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour in its stores last year.

The boss of John Lewis said shoplifting had become an “epidemic” with a rise in organised gangs looting stores.

The chain is among 10 of the UK’s biggest retailers which last year agreed to fund a police operation to crack down on shoplifting, dubbed Project Pegasus.

The companies are expected to pay around £600,000 towards the project, which will use CCTV pictures and facial recognition technology to get a better understanding of shoplifting operations.

The concerns of major retailers are supported by the latest figures that show the number of shoplifting offences recorded by police in England and Wales has risen to the highest level in 20 years.

A total of 430,104 offences were logged by forces last year, up more than a third (37 per cent) on the 315,040 recorded in the previous 12 months to December 2022.

The figure is the highest since current records began in the year to March 2003, according to the Office for National Statistics, which described the latest increase as “notable”.