Tag Archives: British Retail Consortium

84% of small businesses call for intelligent video surveillance as existing systems “fail to protect premises”

A survey1 of small businesses in the UK has discovered that 84% of retail, office and hospitality owners are looking for video surveillance with high resolution images and intelligent features such as remote monitoring to provide superior security for their premises.

85% of respondents also stated that high quality and reliability would be important purchasing considerations when looking to invest in video surveillance.

The survey demonstrates a wide consensus among small business owners that current surveillance solutions in place are not viable to provide the necessary proof of crime at a time when the cost of shop theft is at an all-time high2. It also reveals that new technology is sought to provide the required security level within a given business.

Axis Communications carried out the survey in order to establish small business owners’ key challenges regarding video surveillance and how they believe it could be improved. In addition to stating that high quality images and the ability to access footage remotely on a smart phone or other device is desirable, 70% also suggested that ease-of-use is also high on the agenda.

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In light of accessible intelligent technology, 82% of small business owners are considering new video surveillance technology for their premises in order to provide a more up-to-date solution.

The survey results also demonstrate the challenges currently faced by small business owners in regards to their existing video surveillance solutions. A number of factors were revealed as unsatisfactory within their present set-up, including poor quality of images and difficulty of use.

These small business owners reported facing issues with their current video surveillance including “bad quality of system”, “lack of ability to monitor outside of premises” and providing “limited proof of crime”. This feedback further confirms the desire for more intelligent surveillance solutions to help protect businesses and make staff feel safe.

Atul Rajput, regional director for Northern Europe at Axis Communications, observed: “Pioneering technology and the benefits that come with it shouldn’t be limited to corporate entities. With the help of dedicated IT and security installers, the network camera is becoming more accessible and affordable for the small business than ever before. Many small business owners have an awareness that high quality, intelligent solutions are available and are looking for guidance as to how they can make the most of this to protect their premises and, ultimately, their bottom line. A rise in theft and the continued improvements in technology such as remote monitoring and high-quality images are only set to exacerbate this situation.”

Rajput continued: “As legacy video surveillance solutions become obsolete, we’re witnessing a shift in the ways small businesses adopt new solutions. Once regarded as a standalone investment, many now consider IP cameras as a vital upgrade that forms a part of their larger IT infrastructure. Along with this, end users are also looking to remotely access live and pre-recorded video footage anytime and anywhere. The ultimate benefit of this is a solution that delivers information rapidly and cost-effectively and that can benefit from the latest applications as and when they become available.”

References 

1Research was conducted by OnePoll independent market researchers on behalf of Axis Communications between 22 July and 10 August 2016 via an online survey. 500 UK business owners of companies with 1-20 employees that would be involved in the decision to purchase video surveillance equipment for their company premises were surveyed

2http://brc.org.uk/news/2016/cost-of-theft-for-retailers-at-highest-level-since-records-began

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UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner issues Annual Report 2013-2014

The UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s inaugural Annual Report outlines both the work the Commissioner, Tony Porter, has completed and his future plans.

The report explains how the Commissioner:

*continues to promote the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice to relevant and non-relevant authorities
*has launched an easy to use self-assessment tool for any organisation to demonstrate how they are meeting the principles contained in the Code
*has continued the work of his predecessor, Andrew Rennison, to simplify the CCTV standards framework in order to encourage the industry and operators of CCTV systems to meet minimum standards
*will be issuing guidance to users of domestic CCTV following his concerns about the growing number of complaints around the use of CCTV at people’s homes

Download a copy of the Annual Report 2013-2014

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Foreword to the Annual Report

In the Foreword to the Annual Report, in which he addresses Home Secretary Theresa May, Tony Porter states:

“I am pleased to present to you the first Annual Report from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. This report covers the period from the appointment of the first Surveillance Camera Commissioner (on 13 September 2012). I am grateful to my predecessor Andrew Rennison who undertook the functions of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner until his departure in February 2014. Much of his work is reflected in the body of the report and he has kindly attached an open letter which follows this Foreword.

“I intend to ensure that the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (PoFA Code) is promoted to relevant authorities under S33 (5) of the Protection of Freedoms Act so that they fully understand and fulfil their duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. I also intend to explore other opportunities to promote the PoFA Code to non-relevant authorities, thereby seeking voluntary adoption across a broad range of sectors.

“According to a survey conducted by the British Security Industry Association on the number of cameras in the UK (published in July 2013), just 1 in 70 of CCTV systems are state owned. This reinforces that a major part of my role is to reach out to others who use overt surveillance in public space – not solely relevant authorities. I will detail plans later in the report, but I have already met with universities and spoken to some residential social landlords and the British Retail Consortium and will continue to reach out to others to whom the PoFA Code is applicable.

“The use of CCTV in domestic environments continues to cause concern among the public and is a high generator of complaints across various agencies. With a view to showing leadership in the sector, I have said publicly that I intend to explore ways of working with manufacturers, retailers, installers, consumers and the Information Commissioner’s Office to impart the principles of the PoFA Code.

“That said, there remains much to do to achieve that goal. I have worked with some relevant authorities, particularly public space CCTV managers in local authorities that show enormous enterprise in adopting the principles within the PoFA Code. However, it has been brought to our attention that the application of the PoFA Code is not consistent throughout all relevant authorities. We have been made aware of instances where some traffic enforcement officers, often using the same cameras as those used to deliver crime and disorder reduction strategies, do not deliver the same level of compliance to the PoFA Code. Accordingly, where dual use CCTV Operations Rooms are in use I intend to raise the obligations within the PoFA Code to encourage compliance.

“There remain a large number of surveillance camera system users who are not under a duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. By focusing on the larger scale operators via seminars, webinars and personal engagement, I intend to raise the profile of the PoFA Code. My aim is to secure voluntary adoption and achieve surveillance by consent across the broadest range of organisations.

“Application of the PoFA Code not only delivers benefits to society in terms of privacy, security of public safety, transparency and reassurance but also benefits business through better performance and cost reduction. This will be my mantra going forward.”

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National Business Crime Solution helping to “save millions” in fight against retail criminality

The National Business Crime Solution – a not-for-profit initiative providing businesses with access to a collaborative partnership that spans the public and private sectors as well as law enforcement agencies – has revealed how it has helped to cut crimes costing retailers £650,000 per month, which equates to over £8 million per annum1.

Supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) realises a central repository where business crime data is submitted, shared and analysed in order to determine key threats, linked crime series and national targets that can be investigated.

Sue Fish, deputy chief constable at Nottinghamshire Police and ACPO’s national lead on business crime, commented: “At the recent British Retail Consortium Retail Crime Conference, it was great to see both national organisations and police forces speaking highly of the pockets of intelligence that have been enhanced thanks to the sharing of information with the NBCS. It’s brilliant to witness the initiative working independently of policing and with a governance structure that provides all businesses with an opportunity to contribute.”

Retail crime cost an estimated £511 million in 2012-20132 and, with a reported rise in organised crime and further cuts to public sector funding expected, businesses are increasingly recognising the benefits of a not-for-profit initiative that works collaboratively with the business community. As a result, over the past six months membership of the NBCS has increased by over 50% and attracted some of the largest names in the retail sector.

The National Business Crime Solution is supported by ACPO

The National Business Crime Solution is supported by ACPO

Using closer collaboration and an evidence-based approach, the NBCS has supported a number of businesses in reducing their exposure to business crime while at the same time providing a safer environment for customers and staff.

Building a national profile of business crime

Catherine Bowen, policy and stakeholder director at the NBCS, explained: “In just six months we’ve seen significant progress. More importantly, by working in collaboration we’ve proven that we can build a national profile of business crime and actively support the police service by building watertight, cross-border cases that result in real action.”

Bowen continued: “By working with law enforcement officials we can not only ensure that cross-border, serious and organised criminals are pursued but, by working with police analysts, we can also advise businesses on criminal trends and any particular ‘hot spots’ for increased illicit activities.”

In the first half of 2014, the NBCS – ably supported by the National Business Crime Intelligence Bureau (NBCIB) – dealt with over 70 investigations exposing cross-border, serious and organised criminal groups. The body has also provided support to more than 40 national businesses across 33 police force areas resulting in 29 arrests.

Notable successes over the past six months included the NBCS working with one member business alongside cross-border authorities to halt a series of high value thefts valued at over £9,000. In just nine days, 32 recorded offences were committed across a number of force areas. By sharing information and working together, the NBCS quickly established the full nature and scale of the criminal gang’s activities, in turn leading to timely arrests and a subsequent end to the high-value crime spree.

Catherine Bowen: policy and stakeholder director at the NBCS

Catherine Bowen: policy and stakeholder director at the NBCS

Another NBCS member business suffered 11 burglaries in just two months costing the company over £22,000 in lost goods, repairs and lost trade. By working with the NBCS, a pattern of incidents was established proving they were linked and not isolated. As a result of this information being passed to the police and assisting with further case development, the authorities were able to step in and make a successful arrest.

Retailers alerted to crime trends

“Sharing information across the business sector has ensured that retailers are alerted to rising crime trends, enabling them to take preventative action,” added Bowen. “This has also meant that where there are organised crime groups in operation, information is collated and shared with the police to bring criminal activities to a timely end.”

The timing for the NBCS has never been better with major cuts to public sector funding and a greater recognition of the important role businesses can play in cutting crime leading to an increased appetite for data sharing.

“Business crime may have made it back onto the agenda,” asserted Bowen, “but the challenge now is how we keep it there. In order to continue the progress we’ve made so far, we need businesses to join us, share their data and be part of this fast-growing collaborative approach to preventing business crime.”

Retail crime cost an estimated £511 million in 2012-2013

Retail crime cost an estimated £511 million in 2012-2013

*The NBCS was recently awarded top spot in the Best Collaborative Solution category at the 2014 Retail Fraud Awards

*Further information on the NBCS is available by contacting Catherine Bowen via e-mail at: catherine.bowen@nationalbusinesscrimesolution.com

References

1Value of crimes prevented as recorded by a selected number of members. Full potential of savings is significantly higher than the figure quoted
2British Retail Consortium’s Annual Retail Crime Survey 2014

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The Shield Group advises UK retailers as retail crime increases

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has announced that the direct cost of crime to retailers last year rose to £511 million – 166% higher than in 2007-2008.

A leading expert from The Shield Group, the UK’s ninth largest business security company, has looked at today’s figures and offers retailers advice on how to best protect themselves in 2014.

Paul Bland, divisional director-retail of The Shield Group, is hoping his advice can help retailers better prepare during a time of increased incidents of theft and fraud.

Last year, retailers suffered the highest level of theft for nine years. Thefts by customers rose to their highest level for nine years, with the average value of items stolen going up by 62% to £177.

High value items being targeted include electrical goods, designer clothing, handbags and power tools.

With the well-publicised struggles of the British High Street of late, the added crippling cost of theft could force many retailers to shut their High Street branches, with small-to-medium sized business affected the most.

According to the BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey, retailers suffered 2.7 million offences in the year 2012-2013. While burglary, robbery and staff theft all take their toll by pushing up retail costs, shoplifting and the rise of supply chain fraud are having by far the biggest impact.

Paul Bland: divisional director of retail at The Shield Group

Paul Bland: divisional director of retail at The Shield Group

Last year, theft values by customers reached their highest level in almost a decade, meaning this type of criminality now accounts for more than 80% of all retail crime. Supply chain fraud increased by 15% from the previous year as organised criminal gangs have become more sophisticated in their approach.

Retail criminality has evolved

In recent years, retail crime has evolved and surpasses the rather more obvious shoplifting to more complex crimes like cyber fraud, organised robbery and employee theft, in turn affecting larger and smaller businesses alike.

As a result, both independent and small retailers are turning in ever-greater numbers to private security companies for security solutions. Sector-trained security and loss prevention officers are well placed to stifle criminal activities on the shop floor and implement rigorous crime and loss prevention measures to discourage theft, reduce shrink while promoting a safer, more profitable shopping environment.

The Shield Group believes that the implementation of intelligence-led security solutions across retail communities has played a vital role in preventing imminent and potential criminal threats. As retail crime evolves, it’s more necessary than ever to use these measures to anticipate and pre-empt crime by sourcing, analysing and exploiting timely intelligence.

Effective governance is being built through proactive criminal investigations, the development of Best Practice techniques with retailers and the transmission of evidence to the authorities.

Alcohol is a target for many thieves

Alcohol is a target for many thieves

A cost-effective method for small retailers to increase their security success rate is active co-operation between each other, as well as with private security firms, community groups and the police. The volume of information now shared results in a ‘constant chatter’ between these entities, discussing subject matter such as movements of known shoplifters, real-time notification of thefts and new theft techniques, as well prominent prosecutions.

This intelligence-fed security approach equips retailers with the information required to adapt to changing theft techniques and implement strategies that best protect their brands for the future.

Focus of product security

Product security is no longer focused solely on the shop floor. Digital marking and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking now plays a key role in protecting the whole supply chain from warehouse to customer.

Frontline security officers have contributed to a 50% fall in robbery and violence against staff and customers. This gives retailers confidence that security officers are able to step in at the critical moment to diffuse tensions and respond quickly to situations before the local police arrive, acting as a vital deterrent to criminals.

Technological advances are also helping many small retailers react to crime while it’s being committed. Improvements in Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems, in-store and local CCTV and other technological advances are discouraging criminals and helping managers better allocate human resources.

New methods for preventing theft

Paul Bland, the divisional director for retail at The Shield Group, commented: “We have found retailers are spending more on private security measures now than they have in the past as they need to think of new ways to protect themselves from theft which last year cost UK retailers over £511 million in losses. The implementation of intelligence-led security solutions across retail communities will play a vital role in preventing imminent and potential criminal threats. As retail crime evolves, we believe it is more necessary than ever to use these measures to anticipate and pre-empt crime by sourcing, analysing and exploiting timely intelligence.”

Bland went on to state: “The Shield Group is seeing a large increase in active co-operation between individual retailers, private security firms, community groups and the police. The volume of information now shared results in a ‘constant chatter’ between these entities, discussing subject matter such as movements of known shoplifters, real-time notification of thefts and new theft techniques, as well prominent prosecutions.”

In conclusion, Bland commented: “Technological advances are helping many retailers react to crime while it is being committed. Alarms, in-store and local CCTV and other technological advances are discouraging criminals and helping security managers better allocate human resources. Private security companies such as The Shield Group are now offering a Total Security Solutions (TSS) model, allowing them to focus solely on securing their clients’ premises, employees and customers. This innovative model has proven a success with many retailers across the nation, leaving them to concentrate on serving their customers better.”

Top security tips for SMB retailers

(1) Carry out a crime and loss prevention risk assessment

(2) If outsourcing security, ensure the company chosen is able to demonstrate sector expertise and provide the sort of protection and services required

(3 Make sure that crime prevention systems are up-to-date and working well with regular reviews and checks

(4) Senior management must demonstrate a commitment to driving loss prevention culture engagement from all staff

(5) Ensure store management attend local crime prevention group meetings and that intelligence obtained from the authorities is communicated to staff at all levels

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BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013: ‘Concerns growing over increase in shop theft’

This year’s British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Crime Survey has revealed that UK retailers are fighting a rising tide of theft in store.

Last year saw the highest level of theft for nine years and the average value of theft increased by 62% to £177 per incident, indicating that stealing is becoming more sophisticated and well-planned.

Criminal activity by a very small minority is having an impact on businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers.

Despite retailers investing an average of £2 million each on crime and loss prevention measures, they need help and support. Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set in London and work with retailers to build dedicated business crime strategies to help defeat this growing problem.

Direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million last year, 166% higher than five years ago. Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted.”

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Dickinson added: “Last year, we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight-in-ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber attacks pose a critical threat to their business. Combined with the increase in organised theft, this means that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.”

The BRC’s leader continued: “We want to work closely with Police and Crime Commissioners and the new National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to fight this serious crime, from fraud through to theft and on to cyber attacks. Our engagement has been positive so far, but it’s still early days and it’s important that they implement measures such as single points of contact and create dedicated business crime strategies.”

Single, national definition for business crime

The BRC survey recommends that there should be a single, national definition for business crime in the UK to help measure and solve these problems.

Police forces should routinely publish business crime data, share that information with retailers and work in partnership to combat crime.

In partnership, retailers, the police and Government can build on the introduction of the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to help retailers combat this growing problem.

These changes will not only fight crime, but also boost confidence and help to tackle the under-reporting problem that led to only one-in-ten thefts being reported last year.

Other key findings of the survey

It’s estimated there were 2.7 million offences against retailers in 2012-2013, directly adding £511 million to retailers’ costs.

Robberies were up 48%, but burglaries fell by 49% compared to last year. Despite the number of burglaries falling, the cost of each incident rose from £1,730 to £2,067.

The average cost per incident of criminal damage jumped by 114% in 2012-2013, from £962 to £2,062.

Downloaded the BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013

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