Data from the retail industry indicates that the cost of crime is on the rise, so Essential Retail caught up with Paul Bland, divisional director for retail at private security supplier The Shield Group, to discuss how this can be combatted.

How can technology help reduce retail crime?

Retailers have taken some responsibility for safeguarding their revenue but must consider the increasing array of technological and analytical tools now available to detect organised retail crime. Today, the industry heavily relies on technological advancements in CCTV, electronic article surveillance and electronic point of sale scans for improved security and safety of stock in stores.

There is now also a growing need for retailers to manage the output from their security systems, data analysis and incident trending across multiple stores from a central location. In addition, the value of CCTV, in conjunction with facial recognition software, becomes more visible when combined with effectively trained manned guarding which was demonstrated during the 2011 London riots. Advanced systems for retail security have become critical to enable businesses thrive and retain their profits.

What should authorities be doing to counter online retail crime?

In general, authorities need to improve on the level of support and advice given to fraud victims and improve the public and business awareness for preventing and combatting online retail crime. Firm commitments from the police and crime commissioners to tackling retail crime as part of the wider business fraud issue are essential. Additionally, increased cross border collaboration and engagement with retailers and local retail crime forums, in detecting and solving retail fraud plays a significant role in tackling organised criminal gangs.

It is vitally important for retailers and the general public to understand the various forms of online fraud, which in turn can help better prepare against such attacks. Not only retailers, but the entire security industry too needs to collaborate with an interest in reducing the threat of online fraud and overall retail crime.

To what extent is there a growing need for private security in retail?

Globally and in the UK, retailers have been reporting a disturbing trend of an increase in organised retail crime. The latest British Retail Consortium – Retail Crime Survey figures point to a 59% increase in the number of crimes per 100 stores with an estimated 57% of additional incidents going undetected. Given this increase, business owners and the retail industry at large have recognised the commercial benefits of thorough security measures and its delivery of sustainable profitability. The continuous challenges to traditional security measures employed by retail companies has led to an increasing need for the efficient use of multi dimensional total security solutions.

The increasing demand for a range of specialist services  provided by private security companies such as The Shield Group in retail comes down to a specific demand – continuous security and event monitoring of an evolving threat to profit. As retailers continue to struggle with related threats and as these risks become more complex, there is a greater demand today, more than ever before for them to efficiently protect their stores and operations.

Allied to this is the internal pressure placed upon management to demonstrate a viable return on investment from all measures. For every pound invested in loss prevention, an increased reduction in shrink of greater than a pound should be expected.

What are the basic loss prevention processes all retailers should be implementing?

The prevalence and the increasing prominence of retail crime has called for the industry at large to protect themselves from the array of retail threats and deploy the necessary systems and at the same time increase public awareness of the issue at hand. Retailers should definitely be implementing the following immediately:

  • Establish senior management commitment to a robust Loss Prevention Strategy.
  • Develop and maintain key control programmes whilst regularly challenging and re-enforcing a Loss Prevention culture.
  • Retailers should carry out a security gap analysis and crime risk assessment (at least annually).
  • Retailers should ensure that their internal and external crime prevention systems are up-to-date and working well.
  • Where a retailer chooses to outsource its security, it must, through engagement, ensure that the provider is able to provide expertise across the full spectrum of security solutions to match the threat.
  • Engage with the local retail crime partnerships and drive interaction with the local police force.

http://www.theshieldgroup.com/