Five students have been caught shoplifting from the campus shop in two days, following a clampdown on missing stock.
Stricter monitoring, including greater use of CCTV, was introduced at the start of the semester after shop staff noted unusually high amounts of missing stock during two consecutive stocktakes. Several possible causes were investigated, including staff theft and incorrect stock taking, however, shop floor theft was found to be the most likely cause.
Thefts have included a postgraduate student caught on CCTV stealing a burger, and a student leaving the shop without paying for hot drinks. One shoplifter was stopped by a student staff member after walking out of the shop without paying for a sandwich. On two separate occasions, students were stopped by members of staff with bags full of groceries that they had not paid for.
All of these incidents have been referred to the Union Code of Conduct pending a full investigation, and they will also be referred to a disciplinary panel. Following the verdict of the panel, thieves will likely face temporary bans from SU activities, including participation in clubs and societies and access to the bars and LCR. It is possible that more serious cases will be referred to the University. Sanctions may involve students being suspended.
Commenting on the incidents, Campaigns and Democracy Officer, Amy Rust said: “we are doing all that we can to try and reduce prices in the shop, and one of the thing that will help is reducing our losses on stock. We’ve improved things behind the scenes, but our shrinkage is too high on the shop floor, which is why last week we installed cameras and employed extra monitoring measures to eradicate shoplifting.”
“So far we’ve caught at least a couple of people every day, and while we take this very seriously we also want to make sure to sit down with the students in question and determine why this happened in the first place. Sanctions could include a temporary ban from SU facilities (as happened recently in the Jo Swo case), or in more serious cases, a referral to the University disciplinary process.”
Commenting further regarding welfare concerns, Jo Swo, SU Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer said: “Obviously some of these cases also present health and welfare concerns. We acknowledge that one of the main problems for students is the cost of living on campus, which is why we are working closely to ensure students caught that are in difficulty always get the help that they need.”