New police data has revealed that, since 2019, 18,784 employee thefts have been reported to police in the UK, with 50.8 thefts reported per 100,000 employees in the UK.

Requesting data from 45 police forces in the UK, under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOI), StandOut CV has taken a look at the frequency of employee thefts in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, to reveal the areas where people steal from their employer the most.


Nearly 19,000 incidents of employee theft have been reported since 2019

Since 2019 18,784 incidents of employee theft have been reported to police forces in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. 

In 2020, reports of employee thefts were 35% lower than in 2019, with 5,935 incidents of employee theft reported in 2020 compared to 9,134 in 2019. In addition, figures in 2021 suggest another decrease in employees stealing from employers, with 3,715 incidents reported to police up to October 1st 2021, a 37% drop compared to the whole of 2020.

National figures suggest, per day there is an average of nearly 19 (18.7) employee thefts reported to police every single day since 2019; with an average of 25 instances reported per day in 2019, 16 cases per day in 2020, and 14 per day in 2021 (up to October 1st).

(It’s quite likely lockdowns, working from home, and other COVID measures have helped to reduce the overall numbers of thefts by employees, however, data from police sources are unable to directly correlate how and when thefts occurred).


London 2.8 employee thefts are reported to police per day

Since 2019, London’s Metropolitan Police have recorded 2,795 reports of employee thefts, the highest number of thefts recorded by any police authority in the study.

However, similar to the national figures, these have decreased, with 44% fewer reports of employees stealing in 2020, and a further 49% fall in incidents being reported to police between 2020 and October 2021.

Greater Manchester Police recorded the second-highest number of employee thefts since 2019, with 957 instances of employees stealing from employers being reported to them. Thames Valley Police record the third-highest number of employee theft cases, with 955 reported to them since 2019.


Police services that record the most reported thefts

Police Service Total thefts/Employees (per 100k) Total thefts (since 2019)
Metropolitan 52.5 2,795
Greater Manchester 57.5 957
Thames Valley 63.8 955
West Yorkshire 69.1 949
West Midlands 48.2 822
Essex 51.5 581
South Yorkshire 66.9 556
Hampshire 43.6 537
Devon and Cornwall 48.7 530
Kent 46.0 529


Northamptonshire police deal with the highest rate of employee thefts

To better understand the rates of employee theft reported to police forces, StandOut CV analysed police data against employment figures, providing an insight into the areas with the highest rates for employee theft.

The analysis found that Northamptonshire Police deal with the highest rates of employee theft, with 106 reports for every 100,000 workers in the region. In comparison, London’s Metropolitan Police deal with 52 reports per 100,000 employees in their operational area.

Warwickshire (87.4) and Staffordshire (71) had the second third highest rates of thefts reported per 100,000 employees in the area, with Dyfed-Powys police service – which covers an employee population of just 299,062 – reporting 50.2 employee thefts per 100,000.


Police services that record the most reported thefts per 100,000 employees

Police Service Total thefts/Employees (per 100k) Total thefts (since 2019)
Northamptonshire 106.2 479
Warwickshire 87.4 294
Cheshire 71.1 446
Staffordshire 71.0 471
Durham 69.5 250
West Yorkshire 69.1 949
South Yorkshire 66.9 556
Bedfordshire 66.1 272
Cambridgeshire 64.9 339
Thames Valley 63.8 955
Leicestershire 62.9 414
North Yorkshire 57.9 283
Greater Manchester 57.5 957
Hertfordshire 55.0 399
Cleveland 54.1 174
Metropolitan 52.5 2,795
Derbyshire 52.5 333
Essex 51.5 581
Cumbria 51.2 150
Dyfed-Powys 50.2 150


At the other end of the scale, City of London police recorded just 20.7 employee thefts per 100,000 employees that work within their area. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s South Area police recorded just 25.1 thefts per 100,000 employees in the area, and North Area police just 26 per 100,000.


Police services that record the fewest reported thefts per 100,000 employees

Police Service Total thefts/Employees (per 100k) Total thefts (since 2019)
City of London 20.7 53
South Area 25.1 67
North Area 26.0 95
Dorset 29.0 138
Derry City & Strabane 31.9 25
Surrey 32.5 241
Nottinghamshire 33.7 278
Wiltshire 36.5 162
Lincolnshire 36.6 167
Sussex 38.5 407


What could happen to those caught stealing from their employer(s)?

To understand more about how employee thefts are typically be dealt with and what the consequences can be, StandOut CV spoke to Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP, who shared:

“It is likely that theft or other dishonesty would be referred to in an employer’s disciplinary procedure as gross misconduct. If an employee commits a criminal offence at work, then it is likely that the police would get involved as well, as there is nothing to stop an employer contacting the police if there has been a theft by an employee.”

“Criminal proceedings are concerned with guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas an internal disciplinary process focuses on whether or not the conduct occurred. An employer does not have to show beyond reasonable doubt that it happened, just that it has conducted a reasonable investigation and concluded on reasonable grounds that the employee committed the theft. ”

“An employer is not obliged to give a reference to an employee but if they do so it must be an accurate and true reference.

“Therefore, an employer, if they do provide a reference, would want to give details about the reason for dismissal and any employee trying to find new employment may find that their prospective employer is made aware of the reasons why they were dismissed.”

“As such, it may be more difficult for an employee to find new work if they have been dismissed for gross misconduct, although not impossible, as employers tend to view gross misconduct more seriously than other reasons for dismissal.”