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Is crime rising in the UK? Is it time to rethink your security strategy?

Is crime rising in the UK? Is it time to rethink your security strategy?
Is crime rising in the UK? Is it time to rethink your security strategy?

As is true to recent form in the UK, crime rates are on the rise according to several high profile reports. The Office for National Statistics reported that “overall, 6.7 million crimes were recorded in the year ending September 2023 compared with 6.6 million in the year ending September 2022.” So are crime rates rising?

The statistics would show that they are however, while the latest figures do not show a statistically significant change in total crime compared with the year ending September 2022, they do follow a long-term downward trend according to the ONS. 

In 2021-22, only 5.6% of offences led to a suspect being charged, compared with 16% in 2014-15. This dangerous trend of increasing crime coupled with declining convictions is concerning for both the general public and businesses alike.

This increase in crime rates isn’t just affecting counties in the South East. There have been several localised reports in the UK of record high crime rates including ‘record crime rates in Norfolk’ as well as Bradford being voted the most dangerous city in Europe according to the Expatriate Consultancy. People in the Cumbrian countryside are being warned of a 34% increase in car thefts (specifically Land Rover Defenders) leading to insurance companies urging owners to ‘take sensible security measures’ as a result.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “Hundreds of thousands more criminals are getting away with appalling crimes and more victims are being let down… That’s the shocking reality behind today’s figures.”

Guardian graphic. Source: ONS. Total recorded crime includes all offences including fraud and computer misuse. Years are to March each year. 

Is the Justice System failing?

With a new Prime Minister set to take over in the coming weeks, there are immediate, serious issues to address within the Justice system to combat this rise in criminal activity. Confidence in the police in England and Wales has been shaken by a series of scandals, internal issues and strikes, and cutbacks often being blamed for the main root of the problem.

In June, it emerged that six forces, a record high, had been judged as failing so badly that they needed special help (view source). The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, blamed “12 years of massive cuts”, leading to the loss of 21,000 officers, in response to news that the Met had become the latest force to be placed under special measures.

Inflation adds insult to injury

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that the current cost of living crisis will inevitably trigger an increase in crime – specifically in relation to food thefts. Recent figures showed that supermarket thefts had risen by 22%. Additional data from ‘My Favourite Voucher Codes’ details showed that 34% of 2,584 UK shoppers surveyed admitted to having stolen products at self-service checkouts in the last year.

To combat this rise in retail theft, some retailers have even gone as far as using security tags on items that are normally untagged:

Rocketing food prices have forced supermarkets to place anti-theft electronic security tags on normally untagged items. Here’s a pic of tagged cheddar cheese at an Aldi outlet in Wolverhampton.

— Mark Alan Pearce (@PearceAlan1962) July 5, 2022

Time to tighten up your security measures?

The current state of affairs has highlighted that it may no longer be enough to rely on the powers-that-be to protect your business, site or premises from the rapidly rising threat of crime. With energy costs set to rise again in October and then January, the idea of civil unrest is enough to warrant the cost of additional security measures to mitigate risks.

With that in mind, Clearway has an extensive portfolio of security measures for proactive businesses looking to prevent any costly criminal activity and protect their staff, products and properties against the rising tide of threats. Businesses should consider the following:

Protecting against theft and break ins: as theft is one of the biggest immediate threats resulting from the current climate, businesses should look to invest in securing their assets via a combination of physical and technological security measures. More often than not, security breaches occur via entry through doors and windows. Even the strongest of locks can’t withstand high pressure and forced entry. This creates a critical vulnerability for properties – especially if left vacant for long periods of time. Vacant property security measures such as steel security screens or metal security door installation provide invaluable protection against entry point break ins.

Add an additional layer of commercial CCTV and a simple to install wireless intruder alarm system with CCTV monitoring to ensure that responses to security breaches are handled quickly and effectively, minimising the threat of costly damage to your property as well as the rapid removal of any unwanted guests.

Protecting outdoor spaces: the rise in criminal activity isn’t just limited to those looking to break into buildings. It’s not uncommon for car parks or large open spaces to be subject to anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping, traveler settlements, ram-raiding and more. The first line of defence for protecting these spaces is hiring concrete barrier blocks. Our temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers (TVCBs) are used to provide demarcation and a physical barrier to unauthorised entry.

Protecting construction sites: there are a high number of potential security risks on sites including plant and materials theft, as well as fuel theft, vandalism and costly damage. Investing in commercial access control services as well as perimeter protection and solar-powered CCTV towers can significantly deter unlawful access and opportunistic thieves.

Protection against physical threats: recent reports stated physical crimes are seeing the sharpest rise in the last year. It’s often best to meet physical threats with physical prevention in the first instance so investing in dog unitssecurity guards and manned guarding services is advisable. Clearway provides a highly responsive short or long-term contractual security guard service across the UK. We also recommend the use of lone worker devices and body worn cameras to protect vulnerable staff and to mitigate against volatile situations.

Where should I start?

For any security-conscious business, the first step is to undertake a security risk assessment to highlight any security weak points and/or areas of particular vulnerability that your business, property or site currently faces. Get in touch with a Clearway specialist today for a free security risk assessment and protect your site, property or business from rising security risks.

At Clearway we secure, monitor and protect.

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