Light-fingered staff costing firms £500m

13-07-2007

Light-fingered staff costing firms £500m
Workers who steal from their employers are reportedly costing firms in the UK more than £500 million every year.

A survey of dismissed employees by a UK university claims that staff decide to join specific companies because they believe them to be a "soft touch" on crime.

The research states that the most common forms of theft involve workers directly lifting money from tills and stealing goods, although cheating on discount and loyalty cards is also said to be common.

Professor Martin Gill, of University of Leicester spinout company Perpetuity, said that workers who stole from their employees were pushing up prices for customers.

"It appears staff dishonesty is common," he said.

"The findings are striking: almost one third of respondents had colluded with colleagues or friends and family in committing offences; and two thirds of interviewees were aware of dishonesty amongst other staff."

The criminologist said that retailers were playing into thieves' hands by employing lax security measures in warehouses, while the theft of small and expensive items from the shop floor remained prevalent.

"Interviewees believed their chances of getting caught were low, largely because of poor in-store security; they made use of CCTV blind spots and took advantage of ad hoc approaches to policies and procedures," Professor Gill continued.

"That said, some were identified stealing on CCTV, and some were caught because they were searched and found to have goods on them, some had been informed on by colleagues."


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