Police and army veterans working undercover for Co-op are catching shoplifters only to have to let them go because police are ignoring 80 per cent of cases, a senior executive claimed today.
The chain has witnessed a 41 per cent rise in incidents of shoplifting in the first eight months of the year compared to the last, MailOnline can exclusively reveal.
Paul Gerrard, the chain’s campaigns and public affairs director, said the number of cases of violence being used against staff had also increased by 25 per cent.
The chain has invested in undercover security guards who perform citizen’s arrests on thieves, but Mr Gerrard – who used to work in law enforcement – said that in the majority of cases they had to be let go because officers never turn up.
‘These are highly trained expert guards – often ex-police and ex-forces – who work undercover in stores where there’s a particular problem,’ he told MailOnline.
‘They will intervene and make a citizen’s arrest and detain the individual. But even in those cases when we’ve detained an offender and called for police assistance the police don’t attend in 80 per cent of cases.
That’s despite us having the offender in our control in the store, with CCTV evidence.
‘We’ll keep them until we know if the police are going to turn up or not – that could be 15 minutes or an hour.