Magazine article Security Management

Civil Recovery Expands in Britain

Magazine article Security Management

Civil Recovery Expands in Britain

Article excerpt

Encouraged by shrinking shrinkage and decreasing theft in test stores, 25 major retailers in Great Britain plan to expand a new civil recovery program under which shoplifters are assessed costs and damages of their transgressions. First tested in select stores in the West Midlands region of England, the program is now being expanded to 5,000 stores throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.

After studying how civil recovery works in the United States, Professor Joshua Bamfield, who heads the Center for Retail Research, launched the test of civil recovery last year (see "Security Spotlight," October 1998). Bamfield and his organization measured shrinkage rates and theft incidents at test sites against control stores with similar retail crime problems outside the testing regions. Most test sites benefited from the program, observes Bamfield: 75 percent of the stores, which included such chains as Safeway, Tesco, Superdrug, and Waterstones, reported "significant reductions in losses."

Bamfield found that theft incidents dropped 35 percent and that shrinkage fell by 18.1 percent in the test stores as compared with the same time period the prior year. By contrast, theft and shrinkage shot up at control stores, by 19.3 and 7.3 percent respectively. Bamfield also measured the shrink rates of stores within the test region that weren't using civil recovery. These stores seemed to benefit from their proximity to the test sites; shrinkage and theft rates dropped in those stores, but not as much as in the test stores. …

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