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Employee Theft in the workplace is on the increase

There has always been employee theft in the workplace, a sad reality of commerce. With the ever increasing systems and infrastructure commercial enterprises can depend on, somewhere somebody or a criminal organisation is working away trying to steal stock, goods, information, which makes bottom line profits even harder to achieve.

The UK recession saw a real bearing on the increase in negative occurrences in consumer, private and commercial matters. One major result of the financial crisis was that employee theft in the workplace increased.

Activating an alarm system at the end of the day to ensure there is no employee theft

It is with sadness that in this economic climate this is likely to increase further, given the financial strains that will be put on society, recovering from the current economic climate.

It has been reported over the past few years in printed and broadcasting media that the retail sector is one of the worst affected industries suffering from a rise in employee theft in the workplace. Obviously with high street customer sales decreasing, while online sales increase any instances of internal theft will further damage any business no matter what their trading size.

External factors can also be an issue from the Association of Retails Stores they make the below statement.

In the last year, there have been over 1.1 million thefts, with over three quarters of incidents being committed by repeat offenders that are stealing to fund addiction and other criminal activity.

Whilst the Office for National Statistics reports a 9% decrease in crime (at March 2020 this does not appear to resonate with facts and figures from the retail and commercial sectors.

Organised retail crime is a real issue. (

Employees enlisted by such organised crime networks give them an in road to systems and intelligence to aid their theft.

The Centre for Retail Research reported for 2019 the following retail shrinkage figures

Source of loss£millionsAs percentage of shrinkage
External theft (shoplifting)£1,99334.6%
Internal theft (staff theft)£,30522.1%
Losses caused by suppliers & warehouse crime£91518.0%
Crime subtotal£4,21474.7%
Total shrinkage£5,416100.0%

These figures are staggering and also shows that it is not just a lack of money being spent to blame for the decline of retail turnover and profits, but also internal theft.

Interestingly the percentage that retail employee theft rose, whilst on the flip side retail sector spend on security is down. This reported decrease in security spend could be a factor in some employees deciding to help themselves to goods or money from their employer. It seems that companies, certainly in the retail market, need to get tougher on security and look at ways to reduce internal theft for long-term survival in difficult times.

Private detective agencies can offer sensible cost effective solutions to employers of all sizes in any industry or sector, from employee surveillance and background checks through to mystery internet shopping, even placing undercover personnel in the affected workplace to prove a case of employee theft.

Employee theft investigations are extremely sensitive matters and can take time to uncover evidence, after all any member of staff stealing resources may well know the current security systems and be able to avoid immediate detection. Placing trained private investigators in the workplace to monitor and interact with a suspect is one very good method of detection.

An experienced private investigator on this type of investigation will have the personal skills to make friends, build rapport and look to uncover evidence of employee theft in the workplace as swiftly and discreetly as possible so as not to cause alarm or make the infiltrator suspicious of the investigation.

Commercial Private Investigators have developed the skill sets required to aid companies who believe their employees or enterprises selling even rip-off counterfeit goods through the various on-line platforms that are now widely available. Unscrupulous sellers have become masters, as hiding their identity through on-line outlets has become common place, uncovering that identity takes tenacity and perseverance, a skill inherent in Insight’s commercial investigators.

Obviously stepping up monitoring surveillance such as CCTV will also assist any employee theft investigation and employee checks by in-house security staff is another way to reduce any items from leaving the workplace that have not been paid for, thus reducing the internal theft rate and loss of turnover and profits.

Insight Investigations have carried out many employee theft investigations over the past 35 years and have been able to assist in the process of evidence gathering against an employee, prove employee theft and also assist in the employee theft recovery of assets.

If you suspect a member of your team or an employee may be committing theft in the workplace please contact us where you will be able to discuss your problem with one of our team.

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