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RAC conference

Glasgow was the venue for Retailers Against Crime‘s conference yesterday. Besides a full morning of learning and views on retail loss prevention, and all the work to do, it was also an occasion for celebration of partnerships between retailers, and with public bodies, to combat such crime, writes Mark Rowe.

The event ended with awards; first, to RAC MD Maxine Fraser, by David Wilson of the accreditation body the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships (NABCP), as Stirling-based RAC has gained police-backed accreditation as a crime reduction partnership. RAC’s own awards saw RAC staffers Gemma Sellar and Stephanie Karte with RAC chairman Jim McFedries, of Scotmid Co-op, give trophies to Thomas Frew of Matalan; the John Lewis profit protection team; the security team at Buchanan Galleries in downtown Glasgow; and Rosie Barron of Scotmid. Awards for the north west region of England went to, again, John Lewis; Iceland’s security team; Douglas Lord of Tesco; Debbie White; Paul Brown; Mill Gate shopping centre in Bury; David Mussel of Sainsbury’s and Raymond Clark of Tesco.

Earlier, speakers could be divided into two; from retail loss prevention, describing to an audience of 180 the crime threats to retail, and how they were working; and others, who hailed RAC and partnership working generally.

The retail speakers were Duncan Miles, head of loss prevention at Iceland (a 30-year Iceland man, who memorably described himself as wanting to stay at the high street chain ‘until they carry [me] out in a box’) and Darren Fisher, retail director of the contractor Cordant Security, which works for Iceland among other retailers; Darren Conway, head of loss prevention, Sports Direct Group, who bluntly spelt out the crime and disorder threats to the high street and what retailers can and should do about it; and Craig Bain, profit protection manager at John Lewis. John Makin, a security officer for Sports Direct, from the contract security company Amberstone, spoke on what RAC offers to him, as a front-line officer and RAC member.

From another membership body, National Business Crime Solution (NBCS), general manager Peter Fisher set out how it’s gathering crime intelligence and making use of it to pass to police to tackle organised thieves crossing police force borders – a theme also for Maxine Fraser in her brief presentation of the latest from RAC, such as its app (featured in the June print issue of Professional Security magazine).

The other speakers included, giving the Police Scotland viewpoint, Det Supt Nicola Shepherd; the Scottish Nationalist politician Ash Denham, Holyrood minister for community safety; and Lynne Davidson, of immigration enforcement at the Home Office. Police Scotland DI Simon Broadhurst gave an update on counter-terrorism. While softly-spoken, arguably PC Joanne Shaw of Greater Manchester Police spoke loudest, both in terms of the prolific and violent offenders that police and security staff alike face – in her case, in Manchester city centre – and how police are (with data from businesses) going for criminal behaviour orders and acceptable behaviour contracts through the courts, and along the restorative justice route.

Jim McFedries said: “As a retailer myself, I understand the importance of reducing shrinkage and know full well how crime an impact not only on the bottom line number but on our front line colleagues. With crime and violence against shop workers showing a continued upwards trend, it’s never been so important for retailers to stick together working in collaboration and partnership.”

More in the December print issue of Professional Security magazine. Pictured; left to right during mid-morning tea break; Maxine Fraser, Duncan Miles, and Brendan Musgrove, Managing Director of guard firm Cordant Security.


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