Shoplifting across UK supermarkets has risen by almost 8% between 2014 and 2017, according to the Press Association (PA).
78,110 shoplifting incidents were investigated in 2017 by police forces across England and Wales, up from 72,423 in 2014, the PA said.
National chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter said, “Ten years of the government’s austerity policies, which have seen officer numbers cut by nearly 22,000, have resulted in policing in England and Wales becoming an almost entirely reactive service.
“There are simply not enough officers to deal with what is being asked of them.
“The sad fact is that as forces struggle to meet 999-call demand, incidents such as these are increasingly likely not to be attended by officers at all which, as a serving police constable with 26-years’ service, I find quite shocking.”