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Employee Theft up 19%

Employee theft is up 19% in 2022 reflecting, experts think, the cost of living crisis. In this article, we will examine what businesses can do to reduce opportunity for employee theft.

Employee theft leads to losses of £140,000 on average for businesses, a figure that will shock even medium size business. A recent survey reveals just 6,000 employees were caught stealing from their employer in 2022, even though that is up from 5,000 in 2021. It equates to 500 employees thieving and getting caught a month. But this is a drop in the ocean to the numbers stealing.

It is also understood, that by region, the North and Midlands businesses are suffering more than the South, something which resonates with the cost of living crisis.

Employee Theft – Highest Regions

Police force% increase
Lincolnshire44%
Norfolk43%
Northumbria27%
South Yorkshire27%
West Yorkshire27%
Employee Theft rising in 2023

These figures come from Police Forces across the UK. However, there is research that identifies that not all businesses report to the police for a range or reasons, including the police not showing an interest to resolve crime against a business. Additionally, it doesn’t take account of things like ‘theft from a vehicle’ as this is likely to be classified as such and not a crime against a business – especially for sole traders who will likely have the vehicle registered in their own names.

What can stop Employee Theft?

There are a range of options open to business to cut their stock loss and other crime types.

  • Employ background checks before you employ anyone
  • Instigate robust approval and verification processes for payments
  • Record all transactions using purchase order, invoices and receipts
  • Put in place a random audit schedule and use different internal auditors
  • Value Employees
  • Introduce confidential whistleblowing channels
  • Give employees flexibility to avoid theft of time
  • Invest in cyber controls and security awareness
  • Deploy CCTV, including covertly.
  • Include in employment policies and contracts the fact theft is gross misconduct and will result in immediate termination of their contract.

Employee Theft – Conclusions

Employment contracts and company policies should always outline what gross misconduct is and the likely sanction for it. It is legal to state that theft will result in immediate termination of employment. And there is no need to keep employees in pay on suspension until any court case if that is the route the business takes. However, legal advice should be sought on this prior to acting hastily. Businesses would need to consider the evidence base that the employee is actually responsible for the theft and it is this step that HX5encrypted can help with. Through use of both overt and convert tactics to gather that evidence to ensure the thefts stop and provide robust evidence as to who was responsible. We can also deploy our whistleblowing system into a business to both act as a deterrent to thieves and also allow staff to tell you who is doing it while remaining anonymous.


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Aranea is our whistleblowing platform that puts anonymous and encrypted messaging in every employees hands – through their mobile phone. We can deploy Aranea in your business in a couple of days.


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