Daily Archives: 13/10/2014

Centre for Retail Research survey reveals continued strong trend towards network IP-based security solutions

According to the latest Centre for Retail Research annual survey into the use of CCTV in the retail sector, over 60% of UK retailers are planning to adopt network IP in the next three years while nearly one third have already made the move.

278 UK retailers representing 20,350 stores responded to the survey which was commissioned by Axis Communications. The data collated shows that 92.8% of those retailers currently use CCTV. Of these end users, 32.1% have already upgraded to network IP technology. This represents a 2.5% rise in take-up from the previous year’s figures.

That trend is even more pronounced across the wider northern European region, with 58.5% (weighted average) of analogue CCTV end users reporting that they now plan to switch to network IP. This represents a significant increase of 17% on the 2012 survey figures.

Now in its fourth year, the CCTV in Retail survey polled 2,200 retailers and realised 673 respondents from across northern Europe. The results were presented at the recent Retail Fraud Show by Atul Rajput (regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications) and Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the Centre for Retail Research.

Reacting to the results, Rajput commented: “The migration from analogue CCTV to network IP continues to be of huge importance to the retail sector, with the majority of UK retailers (60.3%) now planning to convert in the next three years. Over three quarters (77.1%) of those retailers own a retail estate of between 26 and 500 stores. This is likely to be the biggest single factor impacting on retail security as digital surveillance and network video become the standard. Certainly, for the UK we believe that the migration to network IP has become the norm. It’s no longer a question of ‘If’ but ‘When’ the technology will be adopted.”

Atul Rajput: regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications

Atul Rajput: regional director for northern Europe at Axis Communications

Rajput went on to state: “The survey suggests that customer theft is still the biggest security challenge facing retailers at the present time. Nearly a quarter (24.2%) of respondents comment that their main reason for using CCTV is to prevent or investigate theft. 80% of respondents cite the prevention of internal or external theft and better safety as the main drivers for their use of CCTV.”

Continuing this theme, Rajput explained: “The UK as a whole has embraced the benefits that CCTV can bring. 22% of those end users surveyed in this research state that the main benefit of CCTV is a reduction in theft, with an estimated average fall in losses of 15% – the highest prediction in northern Europe and up on the previous year. Couple this with the fact that 14% of respondents cite ‘quality of image’ as an important driver for the use of network video – a 40% increase on the previous year – and it’s clear to see that the HD images network video can offer are critically important for retailers when it comes to driving down theft and improving safety.”

Integration with business intelligence applications

The survey also asked respondents about their attitudes towards potential future application systems and networks for digital surveillance, including non-security issues.

Over a quarter (27%) of the replies cite ‘integration with business intelligence applications’ as the main reason for adopting network IP – the highest in the UK and across northern Europe.

“High street stores are still the origin of most retail transactions but carry the highest overheads,” added Rajput. “That being the case, the need to reduce both the cost and complexity of in-store surveillance systems and, at the same time, ‘sweat the assets’ further becomes absolutely vital. This is where network IP really holds the advantage as it can be used to improve both service and sales, not just security, and subsequently deliver a real return on investment.”

Rajput continued: “The use of cloud-based video systems has shown an increase in interest from UK retailers. So too has the subject of non-security applications. Nearly half (49.9%) of respondents are interested in queue management and people counting (49.2%) as new tools for improving both operational sales and marketing performance.”

In conclusion, Rajput commented: “In addition to the rise of non-security applications, big data, cloud and mobile technologies are all trends impacting the retail sector. As network video is an open platform solution and seamlessly allows integration with these technologies, it can help to maximise the return on in-store video investment by extending its use beyond pure surveillance into becoming a business optimisation tool.”

Speaking about this year’s survey results, Professor Joshua Bamfield added: “The survey clearly highlights the continued move towards IP-based camera systems across the retail sector. It’s a growing trend driven by the need for HD-quality images and the increased adoption and use of business-focused analytics. These are two areas where IP systems demonstrate a clear advantage over older technologies.”

Bamfield also explained: “The survey results further suggest that retailers continue to appreciate the added benefits an IP-based system can deliver which is evident in the high convergence rate each year.”

*The CCTV in Retail survey engaged retailers from both large and small companies across a wide variety of sectors and attracted 673 responses from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The research was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research between July 2014 and August 2014

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Home Secretary praises National Crime Agency on organisation’s first anniversary

During its first year of operation, the National Crime Agency has “broken new ground in the fight against serious and organised crime” and received due praise from Home Secretary Theresa May for doing so.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy – which was also launched on 7 October 2013 – represent a step change in the Government’s approach to combating serious and organised crime, which is estimated to cost the UK at least £24 billion per annum.

“The National Crime Agency has achieved a great deal in its first year of operation,” stated Theresa May. “Through its close partnership with law enforcement agencies both at home and overseas, the NCA is demonstrating that no-one is beyond its reach.”

The NCA has broken new ground in its investigation of serious and organised crime offences right across the spectrum, including in the area of modern slavery. In its first six months, the organisation achieved over 500 disruptions against serious and organised criminals and secured 300 convictions.

The NCA also co-ordinated a national operation tackling the sharing of child abuse images online. To date, this element of its investigations has resulted in over 600 arrests.

In addition, the NCA has led an international operation designed to tackle malware used for cyber crime and, in parallel, published the National Strategic Assessment – the most authoritative evaluation of the threat to the UK ever put in print.

The National Crime Agency has achieved much in its first year of operation

The National Crime Agency has achieved much in its first year of operation

The NCA is collaborating more closely than ever with law enforcement partners such as HMRC and police forces. Meanwhile, Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) have been strengthened so as to maintain a sophisticated and cohesive regional response to organised crime.

“Now, the NCA needs to build on its strong start and get ahead of the threat,” added the Home Secretary. “This means it must continue to work with a broad range of partners in order to build the best possible intelligence picture and use all of the tools available to disrupt and, importantly, prosecute organised criminals.”

Introduction of the Serious Crime Bill

The new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is based on the successful framework used for counter-terrorism – Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare – and sets out a comprehensive, detailed cross-Government approach.

As part of this work, the Government has introduced a Serious Crime Bill to ensure that the NCA, the police service and others have the powers they need at their disposal. Measures include the new offence of participation in an organised crime group which targets corrupt lawyers, accountants and other professionals who’ve tried to evade justice by hiding behind a veneer of respectability.

The Government is also building on its success in seizing criminal assets. Over the last four years, around £750 million has been recovered, £93 million returned to victims and in excess of £2.5 billion frozen to put it beyond the reach of criminals.

Measures in the Serious Crime Bill will close loopholes used by criminals to avoid confiscation orders. For example, some criminals attempt to hide money by giving it to third parties such as spouses and associates.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

The Government is committed to working with partners in other European countries – among them Europol and Interpol and also organisations across the private sector – to ensure the UK can act decisively beyond its own borders.

Back in April, the Home Office established a Financial Sector Forum to encourage better information sharing between the Government, law enforcement agencies and the financial services sector and improve the overall response to financial crime.

Tackling the cyber threat

The Government is improving its response to cyber threats by acquiring new technologies and capabilities. For instance, an investment of £860 million is being made over five years through the National Cyber Security Programme. So far, the Home Office has allocated £70 million of that sum to improve law enforcement cyber capabilities.

Last year, the Home Office provided an additional £10 million of funding to the ROCUs, in turn leading to new capabilities that better handle intelligence, protect witnesses and tackle cyber crime and fraud. Further new investments are being made before the end of the year.

“This Government,” continued Theresa May, “has demonstrated considerable progress in the fight against serious and organised crime. After too many years in which organised criminal gangs, their members and their associates ‘got away with it’, we are now sending the clearest possible message. Whoever you are and wherever you are, if you’re involved in organised crime then we will come after you, we will find you, we will prosecute you and we will punish you.”

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