Insight: Civil Recovery: A deterrent and a revenue stream

11th November 2019

Civil recovery was initially adopted by retailers as a means of challenging crime, acting as a highly effective deterrent. 

A company may therefore decide to take civil action against a person accused of shoplifting to obtain compensation. They may also bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, even if they have since recovered the goods or the amount they claim the individual stole. That said retailers can only claim compensation if they can prove in court that they’re entitled to it, so a high standard of proof is essential. 

Why is civil recovery an effective deterrent?

It is for the retailer to prove on the balance of probability that assets or property have been acquired through unlawful conduct. If they are able to do so, any profits made from assets obtained through unlawful activity can also be recovered. Too many shoplifters pounce with the safety cushion of knowing it’s not possible for the police to attend each and very incident of theft or fraud, and civil recovery offers an effective deterrent. Many businesses, large and small, initiate civil recovery proceedings on a daily basis, and it’s the collaborative effort made by retail outlets across the board that ensure offenders do not have a licence to steal or commit fraud in their premises without any action or recourse.

Improve your profit by reducing loss

One of the most effective methods for increasing profit is of course by minimising loss and that’s especially the case for retailers in the UK. The ACS Crime Report 2019 estimates that there have been more than one million incidents of theft over the last year, “with retailers reporting that the vast majority of thefts committed against their business (79%) are by repeat offenders that aren’t being dealt with by local police forces”. The BRC’s latest Retail Crime Survey suggests the problem is far more concerning with the total cost comprised of £900 million (in direct cost from retail crime), with £1 billion being spent in efforts to prevent crime. BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: 

“We hope this report will act as a catalyst for police and crime commissioners around the country to take action. Retail crime should be explicitly addressed by police and crime plans.”

Though it’s understandable that police can’t attend every case of theft or fraud, there is increasing pressure on the police in particular to respond to retail crime swiftly and effectively. That said, with limited resources, theft is not necessarily going to be cut by shopkeepers, retailers or police trying to catch thieves or fraudsters in the act. Civil recovery therefore offers an alternative avenue, however, to increase the success rate of recovering losses, it’s important to ensure all information and evidence is captured quickly and efficiently. This is exactly why more organisations are utilising Synapse, Zinc’s award winning technology that offers a swift, smooth and simple way to manage incident reporting, staff operational activities and the issuing of civil recovery.

How can Synapse boost your chances of civil recovery success?

Synapse offers retailers a more efficient and precise approach to Security Incident Reporting Systems (SIRS) and loss prevention, aided by real-time reporting and a more effective use of intelligence. Featuring a mobile app for the self-reporting of incidents and a central intelligence database for collating the reported data, Synapse allows security teams, managers and shop floor staff to capture specific information, collect evidence, document findings and issue civil recovery – whilst they can even action the involvement of police and authorities if required.

Synapse is designed to give retailers the tools needed to improve efforts of recovering assets from shoplifters or employee theft, whilst ultimately ensuring they have the evidence at hand to increase their chances of success and ensure their business, and the industry as a whole, continues to thrive. 

If you would like to learn more about Synapse and how it can help you prevent loss and increase revenue, please call us today on +44 (0)1604 598999 or email us at and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

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