A systematic review of tagging as a method to reduce theft in retail environments

Shoplifting is a persistent problem for many retailers and It is a major source of 'shrinkage' (the umbrella term used to denote losses attributed to theft, fraud, error, damage or wastage). Retail tagging is one of a number of security measures that have been used in a bid to reduce shrinkage in shops.

Retail tags are widely used in retail settings. They are often favoured over other security devices because tagged products remain on display and are accessible to staff and prospective buyers. Despite the popularity of tagging, to date there has been no attempt to systematically review the evidence on whether they are effective at reducing theft.

A research protocol is available below and Retail tagging has been added as an intervention to the Crime Reduction Toolkit.  You can also watch and listen to Dr Aiden Sidebottom explaining what works in retail tagging in our Retail tagging Evidence Talk.

This systematic review was undertaken by members of the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London as part of the Commissioned Partnership Programme.  It is part of a series of systematic reviews.


For more information about the What Works Centre, email whatworks@college.pnn.police.uk