40 per cent increase in violence against retail employees can be tackled with technology that is ‘sitting in plain sight’

40 per cent increase in violence against retail employees can be tackled with technology that is ‘sitting in plain sight’

Commenting on the British Retail Consortium’s annual Retail Crime Survey, Simon Gordon, Chairman and Founder of Facewatch, said:

“The significant 40 per cent rise in violence and abuse against employees working in retail outlets in the UK is extremely concerning.  We feel the British Retail Consortium’s proposed Future Strategy of ‘effective cooperation and engagement between retailers, government, the police, and the private security industry at all levels’ is encouraging but the report missed out highlighting the opportunities presented by the new technologies available in the market right now.

“We have been working with police forces nationwide, retailers large and small and businesses of all kinds to fight and prevent crime for seven years now.  At this January’s Police ICT conference, we were delighted to see the changes occurring in policing to recognise the importance of digital working and collaboration not only between forces but with the private sector.  However, just to take one example, the police can no longer afford to spend time physically collecting evidence on DVDs and analysing in order to investigate low level crime – they need the evidence passed to them digitally as highlighted in the Tech UK December paper entitled “Digital Policing: The future of modern crime prevention”.  The role of ‘self-help’ solutions such as Facewatch not only enable this but are vital to help empower businesses to reduce crime themselves.

“We help our users to instantly report crimes and share CCTV evidence with police, combined with giving retailers access to tools such as Suspected Offender Watch Lists and automatic alerts when known offenders are enter their premises using facial recognition.  This means preventative action can be taken by employees before potentially ‘high temperature’ situations arise.

“For example, if you accuse someone directly of shoplifting you may well get a violent reaction, but if you ask them if you can help them BEFORE they do anything wrong, they will most likely leave quietly.  Facewatch provides access to the type of intelligence and information that can effectively support these safer interventions.

“Facewatch user The Southern Co-Operative, which operates more than 200 food retail stores in the south of England, has reduced crime by 32 per cent in target locations using a mix of these and other partnership methods.  This is exactly the kind of case study the British Retail Consortium should be citing as a trailblazer alongside its crime statistics to share best practice with the industry, Government, police and other crime prevention groups.”

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