Calls for action as retailers face a surge in shoplifting

Practitioners are also reminded about their duties around AML reporting obligations

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Business groups are calling for government action as the British Independent Retailers Association declares that rising retail crime poses a ‘severe threat’ to shopkeepers. Members may wish to highlight the following to their clients in the retail industry.

Small shops are facing a sharp rise in shoplifting according to the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA). A recent British Retail Consortium survey found that there has been a 27% increase in retail crime incidents over the past 12 months. Total losses from customer theft alone now exceed £2.8bn annually and BIRA members report declining foot traffic and lost sales due to safety fears.

Tackling retail crime

With rising crime posing a ‘severe threat to retailers’, BIRA says it is supporting the Safer Business Action Week, coordinated by the National Business Crime Centre, which takes place from 16 to 22 October.

The initiative is a week of activities to tackle business crime including high visibility patrols, crime prevention training, information sharing and arrests of prolific offenders. BIRA is urging independent retailers to connect with local police to share intelligence, request crime prevention guidance and help bring regular offenders to justice.

Members AML obligations

Members with retail clients, particularly small businesses such as off-licences and corner shops, etc. should remain vigilant on any AML reporting obligations they may have based on the information known about such crimes their clients may have faced.

The CCAB guidance for AML for the Accountancy Sector (AMLGAS) has some detailed guidance and examples of reporting in relation to shoplifting crimes at section 6 – see the examples at paragraph 6.5.7 onwards.

MLROs should ensure that AML training for all relevant members of staff is up to date.

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