Force shoplifting solve rates increase in Sussex in 2024

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Shoplifting solve rates have improved across the force over the last year, with an overall increase of more than 5%.

In 2022, the force’s average solve rates for shoplifting were 10.4% and in 2024, it is up to 15.6%.

West Sussex has seen the biggest increase, from 9.5% in 2022 to 16.1% in 2024.

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East Sussex has improved from 11.4% to 14.8% and Brighton 11.9% to 15%.

Shoplifting solve rates have improved across the force over the last year, with an overall increase of more than 5%. Picture by Jon RigbyShoplifting solve rates have improved across the force over the last year, with an overall increase of more than 5%. Picture by Jon Rigby
Shoplifting solve rates have improved across the force over the last year, with an overall increase of more than 5%. Picture by Jon Rigby

The force’s dedicated Business Crime Team has worked with the divisions, improved communication and shifted a focus to retail crime.

Figures have seen a particularly large jump from 2023 to 2024 and that is down to officers’ hard work to implement new systems and processes to tackle reports of business crime.

Sussex Police have been working closely with local businesses and partners over the last few years to gather evidence and charge those responsible.

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Officers have also had a number of Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) issued to prolific shoplifters. This not only brings them to justice, but puts conditions in place to prevent future offending.

In 2024, the Business Crime Team have secured 13 CBOs for retail offenders, which is a total of 44 years’ worth of behaviour management.

A number of applications are also in the process of being secured.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Sussex’s dedicated Business Crime Team have furthered their efforts in getting to know our high street’s retailers and the problems they face, especially with prolific shoplifters.

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"Making it easier for retail workers to report crime and share information has led to clearer evidence, more charges, greater solved rates and safer high streets.

“This is the upwards trajectory and improvement that the public want to see and I commend Sussex Police for their work so far.!

She added: “After further investment in tackling retail crime, including funding for enhanced technology to catch criminals, I am pleased to see big rises in solve rates in Sussex.

“Our dedicated Business Crime Team have been encouraging retailers to report crime and systems such as DISC have made it easier to do so - providing police with clear details of offenders.

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“The introduction of the Retail Crime Action Plan last year is beginning to show positive results and our ground-breaking Pegasus business and policing intelligence-sharing partnership, which I spearheaded, is helping to provide a clearer picture of the organised criminal gangs behind so much of today’s retail crime.

“With these new national commitments, alongside swifter reporting processes and co-ordinated police action, I hope we will see solve rates continuing to rise and more prolific offenders taken off our high streets, making staff and customers feel safer in Sussex.”

Sussex Police Business Crime Lead, Chris Neilson. said: “The recent upward trend for solving retail crime is good news for our retailers and has been delivered through effective partnership work with businesses and efficient use of technology.

"There has been an increased focus on our most prolific offenders, with the Business Crime Team working closely with Divisional teams to catch these individuals, put them before the courts and wherever possible obtain suitable civil orders."

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Chief Superintendent Stuart Hale, Divisional Commander for West Sussex, said: “This shows the force’s commitment to retail crime, ensuring incidents are investigated and offenders are held accountable.

“I have seen remarkable work across the force and on the West Sussex division and am delighted with the figures.

“We are always looking to improve and I hope in conjunction with the Business Crime Team, we can improve these figures even further.

“We recognise the impact shoplifting has on shop workers, business owners and the local community, and we would encourage them to continue to report incidents to us so we can gather intelligence to prevent, detect and respond to crime.

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“Reports of retail thefts are known to be under-reported by retailers and Sussex Police has engaged with businesses and partners to make that reporting easier.

“We encourage those affected by retail crime to report through our DISC system, if you have access to it.

“You can contact police online or call 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.“