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The shoplifter on your payroll

19 October 2010

A survey by the Centre for Retail Research has found that in the 12 months to the end of June 2010, shoplifting cost UK retailers £4.4bn, a third of which is attributable to staff.

The proportion of staff theft is nothing new, but the survey acts as a reminder that employees are uniquely placed to spot loopholes in procedures and facilitate fraudulent transactions. One way that every employer (not just retailers) can protect themselves against employee dishonesty is to have an effective whistle-blowing policy. Blowing the whistle on a colleague takes courage, but can be more easily facilitated if staff know who suspicious activity should be reported to, and feel protected from retribution.

Effective whistle-blowing arrangements will also help protect employers against claims under the Public Interest Disclosure Act which, among other things, provides that employees must not be subjected to detriment for disclosing information which tends to show that a criminal offence has occurred, or is likely to occur.

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