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Inside the Numbers: Unpacking Employee Theft Statistics in the UK

By Darragh Timlin on April 23rd, 2024

New data suggests that employee theft has jumped by a fifth in England and Wales as the rising cost of living triggers a wave of workplace crime. Based on Freedom of Information data from 43 police forces in England and Wales, the data reveals that theft by employees is on the rise, with nearly 500 incidents every month.

The Scale of Employee Theft in the UK

National figures show that almost 6,000 workers were caught stealing from their employer. This represents a 19% increase in the number of employee thefts, highlighting the growing problem of theft in the workplace.

Lincolnshire saw the biggest percentage increase, with incidents rising by a staggering 44%. London’s Metropolitan Police reported the highest number of employee thefts, with 874 incidents last year.

The Impact on UK Businesses

The consequences of employee theft can be devastating for companies. In addition to the direct financial losses, which can average £140,000 per incident, employee theft can lead to lower staff morale, reputational damage, and the loss of customer trust. Businesses may also face other expenses such as legal fees, investigation costs, and the cost of implementing new security measures.

The UK has seen a rise in commercial crime claims, including employee theft, highlighting the growing impact of this issue on businesses. With the cost of living crisis set to continue, it’s likely that cases of employee theft will only increase in the coming months and years.

Types of Theft in the Workplace

Employee theft takes many forms, from the petty pilfering of office supplies to more serious offences such as the theft of data and embezzlement of company funds. Social engineering scams are also on the rise, which includes cases where criminals have hacked a senior employee’s email and sent urgent payment instructions with fraudulent bank details to other staff members and external parties.

Preventing Employee Theft in the Workplace

It is important to take proactive steps to prevent theft from occurring in the first place. Here are some strategies that companies can implement to reduce the risk of employee theft:

Conduct thorough background checks

Before hiring new employees, particularly for positions that involve handling money or sensitive data, conduct comprehensive background checks. This can help identify any past criminal activity or red flags that may indicate a higher risk of theft.

Implement strict access controls

Limit employee access to sensitive areas to only those who require it for their job functions. Use access control systems, such as key cards or biometric scanners, to monitor and restrict entry to these areas.

Establish clear policies and procedures

Develop and communicate clear policies regarding employee conduct, including the consequences for theft or fraud. Ensure that all employees understand these policies and sign acknowledgments indicating their compliance.

Conduct regular audits

Perform periodic audits of financial records, inventory, and other assets to identify any discrepancies or irregularities. This can help detect theft early and prevent it from escalating.

Foster a positive work environment

Create a workplace culture that values honesty, integrity, and open communication. Encourage employees to report any concerns or suspicious activity without fear of retaliation.

By implementing these preventive measures, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of employee theft and create a more secure and trustworthy work environment. However, even with the best prevention strategies in place, the risk of theft can never be entirely eliminated. 

That’s why having comprehensive employee theft insurance is so crucial for protecting your company’s financial well-being.

The Role of Employee Theft Insurance

Employee Theft Insurance provides a vital safety net that can help firms mitigate the impact of financial losses and resume normal operations quicker. At Brisco Business, we offer comprehensive employee theft insurance that can help protect your business from the consequences of employee fraud and dishonesty. 

If you’re concerned about the risk of employee theft in your business, get in touch with Brisco Business to compare quotes today. Our expert team can provide advice and support to help you minimise the risk of employee theft and protect your bottom line.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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