Retailers across the UK face numerous threats from shoplifters and organised retail crime gangs looking to steal merchandise on a daily basis. However, tech-based solutions such as SentrySIS are giving retailers and crime reduction partnerships the tools they need to fight back.


SentrySIS is an incident reporting and crime investigation platform that allows retailers and crime reduction partnerships to report, log, track, analyse and share information on criminal incidents and the serious organised crime teams they are associated with.


As covered in a recent BBC News article, shoplifting and retail crime continues to plague stores across the UK.


In one startling statistic, The British Retail Consortium estimated that shoplifting cost retailers £953M in 2022 with a 25% rise in reported incidents. For retailers, these types of losses can be devastating to their bottom line. SentrySIS however provides an easy way for retailers to record incident details like date, time, location, suspect descriptions, value of goods stolen and more. All this data assists in uncovering patterns in offending and how retailers can help prevent it.


Maxine Fraser from Retailers Against Crime (RAC), one of the UK’s largest not-for-profit organisations who share crime intelligence with their members, makes the stark relationship between retail crime and serious organised gangs.


RAC, who use the SentrySIS system to monitor over 50 shoplifting gangs, have been tracking a serious organised crime group with over 150 individuals whose base is in Glasgow but offend as far south as London.



The SentrySIS platform aids Maxine and her team to help monitor this and other gangs who offend in an organised manner. It does this through providing details on profiles with photos, known aliases and modus operandi. This data helps RAC members identify known shoplifters who repeatedly target their stores.



Suspect profiles and incident data can also be shared between retailers on the SentrySIS network, helping prevent criminals from simply shifting their activities elsewhere. It's this type of industry-wide collaboration that will have the greatest impact against sophisticated retail crime gangs.


Adam Ratcliffe from the Safer Business Network runs a similar scheme in London where he and his team use the SentrySIS platform to monitor gangs operating in and around London. Through CCTV video that is uploaded to SentrySIS, Adam and the rest of the Safer Business Network team can identify these criminal gangs at work and gain insights into their operations and how they go about conducting organised crime in this way.



In the recently published File on 4 podcast by the BBC, Adam comments on a serious organised crime team who operate in London and target cosmetics stores.


"They are stealing keys to the secure cabinets within these stores where the products are stored. They go in. Five, six, seven of them at a time. They open the drawer and they fill the bags" Adam said.


As part of the Safer Business Network’s investigations, they have identified that this type of crime is mostly conducted by women but men are involved also, often on the periphery, running operations from a safe distance. Adam said “Gangs will choose young women to carry out crimes because they are less likely to be seen as criminals by security guards and shop staff”.


With built-in photo and video storage, along with secure cloud backups, SentrySIS makes gathering and analysing evidence easy so that people working in the industry like Adam, can gather evidence to advise their members on crime reduction strategies or where necessary, supporting the police in securing criminal prosecutions against this type of organised crime.



Both Adam and Maxine have made the connection between this type of serious organised crime and the vulnerable people, often women, associated with it. An example of this is where Maxine and her staff have made connections between one of the gangs her organisation tracks and their links to vulnerable woman, children and human trafficking.


Referring to an organised crime group in SentrySIS that includes a number of young girls, Maxine said “They've all been here in the UK since they were between 12 and 14 years old”. This chilling statement however doesn’t end there, Maxine continues by stating “There are probably in the region of 15 children working in this group at the moment”. These comments are echoed by Adam and the work his organisation is doing in London.


Adam said “Those carrying out the crimes are often at the bottom of the ladder, carrying all the risk and seeing none of the reward”. He continued by saying “"It's a godawful life for these people, they are vulnerable and have been exploited. Their lives are horrific. They are living in houses of multiple occupancy, 30, 40 of them at a time, sleeping on mattresses in dirty rooms, being used and abused as criminals for financial gain."


To listen to the BBC’s Organised crime and shoplifting, File on 4 program – listen now on BBC Sounds by clicking here. Or to read the BBC’s website article on Serious Organised crime and its relationships with human trafficking and vulnerable people, please click here.



To find out more about how SentrySIS can help your organisation manage its crime data, please visit our contact us page here or email, for a free demo or to find out more information.