In a bid to deter shoplifters, Waitrose and John Lewis have taken an innovative approach by providing on-duty police officers with complimentary hot drinks.
The objective is to foster a stronger police presence, potentially making potential thieves reconsider their intentions.
Nicki Juniper, the security head of the John Lewis Partnership, which owns both the John Lewis and Waitrose brands, stated, “There is a visible increase in retail crime across the board.”
Juniper made it clear that this wasn’t driven by a necessity to feed oneself but rather by professional shoplifters driven by greed. The pandemic has also seen an increase in aggressive behaviour from customers, according to the retailer’s reports.
It is surmised that offering free coffee will increase the likelihood of a visible police presence near the stores. As Juniper stated, “Even just having a police car parked outside can make people think twice about shoplifting.”
The British Retail Consortium, an industry body, has reported that retailers have lost a whopping £1bn to shoplifting in the past year. The number of thefts has risen by 26% in the past year.
Police and community support officers can only take up the offer at Waitrose cafes if they bring a reusable cup, the retailer said.