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National business crime centre

This month will see the launch of the National Business Crime Centre. Metropolitan Police Det Chief Insp Georgie Barnard, pictured, described it to the Retail Risk conference in Leicester yesterday. More in the November 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine. She set out its work on violence reduction, counter-terrorism, crime against retail, and specialist crimes such as the smash and grab robberies by moped against high end shops in Bond Street in central London.

Craig Mackey, Met Police Deputy Commissioner and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) lead for business crime reduction and private security liaison, gave a video message to the conference for retail loss prevention and related managers, at the King Power Stadium, the home of Leicester City FC. Mackey described it as a ‘centre of excellence’, ‘to tackle those things that really matter. We know from talking to you, whether it’s retail crime, assaults on staff, cyber threats, there are many, many challenges out there; we know that by working together we can tackle these. I am absolutely committed to trying to tackle these things that really matter to you. But w can only do that by working more closely.’ He spoke of police and industry sharing more ideas and info – and used the phrase ‘dare to share’, including things that at times you don’t want to talk about.

The event heard of collaboration in pilot projects in the Thames Valley Police area, and Somerset and Cleveland, and Hampshire and Sussex, where chain retailers such as Asda and Sainsbury’s are working with local police forces, whether to coach retail staff and police call handlers to better report and triage crimes against shops – so that the appropriate response can go out and shops are better informed about what response is coming (or not), to a retailer’s contract security officers at times putting on tabards and patrolling a high street when they are not on the retailer’s premises, liaising with other security teams, and reducing reported crime in their area.

The main conference was compered by Corin Dennison, the director legal and compliance (global investigations) for adidas; among the other speakers was Ken Bohnert, senior manager profit protection – global investigations operations for adidas, who described the retail chain’s introduction of data mining to get to the root of point of sale and other fraud, first largely used by the company’s profit protection managers as an aid to work they were already doing, but further developed (as originally adidas had hoped) to uncover losses by itself.

While the audience and topics were largely from the British Isles, speakers from further afield were Peter Page, group loss prevention manager for an Arabian firm, who while a CSyP (Chartered Security Professional) has worked in the Middle East for the last dozen years; and Gary Moncur, a Scot who’s now a loss prevention director in North America, who discussed audit.

Alongside that conference, another ran on e-risk, that heard from Ken Semple, head of security for DX Group on securing products in ‘the final mile’, that is against loss in transit when delivered by van drivers; from a return speaker at Retail Risk, Mark Bertuello, specialist operations manager for Shop Direct; fighting fraud on the ‘dark web’ by Gary Hibberd of Agenci; and Debbie Grant, senior policy lead, Visa Europe, on how the electronic payments company has worked with Europol and Interpol, first against airline ticket fraud on international ‘days of action’ and now against payment card fraud against businesses more generally.

The conference closed with event organiser Paul Bessant (wearing dinner jacket in anticipation of the event’s evening awards dinner) compering an anonymous survey using Among the results; the audience said that it uses a mix of in-house, outsourced and hybrid stock-taking; manned guarding in their stores ranges from none to a fraction; when asked, do you use RFID, not many do; but about half say that it’s planned or they are looking into it. Asked if they share any crime data formally or informally with other retailers or law enforcement, most do. Asked what are the emerging fraud types, particular ones named were internal, and ‘click and collect’. New technology areas that the audience was most interested in included RFID; AI (artificial intelligence); and data mining. Do you monitor social media activity related to your brand? Most do. And what is your overall shrink level in percentage terms? Answers ranged from near zero to one, two or three per cent.

Retail Risk runs next in the UK in London on April 26.


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