Fighting business crime online

An online system for businesses to report crime by providing the full evidential package required by the police is helping to catch and deter criminals and enabling officers to work more closely within the business community and to demonstrate greater success in solving crimes.

Sep 8, 2011
By Paul Jacques

An online system for businesses to report crime by providing the full evidential package required by the police is helping to catch and deter criminals and enabling officers to work more closely within the business community and to demonstrate greater success in solving crimes.

The digital crime-fighting initiative ‘Facewatch’ has now teamed up with cash management solutions company Loomis UK. Facewatch is already proving successful in Cheshire and London where early results show a tenfold improvement in the ratio of solved crimes and a similar level in time-saving where it is being actively used.

The internet-based system links bar, pub, shop and restaurant owners to the police and also allows them to share information in real-time to help crack down on low-level crime such as shoplifting, bag and wallet thefts. It also acts to deter potential criminals from entering Facewatch members’ premises.

Simon Gordon, chairman and founder of Facewatch, said of the Loomis partnership: “Working with Loomis will open new opportunities for Facewatch and, following the success we have already achieved in London and Cheshire, together we will beat crime.”

Loomis is recognised for its pro-active approach to tackling crime, from innovative measures such as taggants that render stolen cash useless to supporting the ‘Convenience Store Zero Tolerance’ campaign to promote awareness and share knowledge with those businesses most at risk to crime.

Stuart Bartlett, commercial director at Loomis, said; “Working with Facewatch is further demonstration of our desire to provide customers with the latest, most efficient systems to tackle low-level crime.”

Facewatch was trialled for the first time last year in London’s Victoria Business Improvement District, allowing the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and British Transport Police to share the information that was made available to them by the new technology.

Earlier this year it was rolled out at the £20 million Widnes Shopping Park in Cheshire.

MPS Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville said the Facewatch pilot had greatly assisted the MPS by providing an evidential package of CCTV images and statements for use in court and saving considerable police time.

“The system has already enabled us to identify and arrest offenders much quicker. I am sure that the partnership with Facewatch will help us to reduce crime and target prolific thieves and other criminals, making Westminster safer for the local community and businesses,” he added.

London’s Deputy Mayor of Policing and London Assembly Member Kit Malthouse added that Facewatch was a brilliant way to form business and the police into a crime-fighting team.

Mr Gordon, who owns and runs Gordon’s wine bar, the oldest in London, created Facewatch after becoming frustrated with the high levels of petty theft occurring in the UK’s bars, restaurants and shops.

It is now being used in establishments such as Hamleys, JD Wetherspoon, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Pret A Manger, Boots, House of Fraser, Vision Express and The National Gallery.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on CCTV, Deputy Chief Constable Graeme Gerrard, explained: “Facewatch provides an effective means for local businesses to report crimes to the police and ensures that the best evidence is available to the investigating officer. Importantly, via an online solution, it allows the police to view the CCTV evidence at an early stage in the investigation, which is often a very difficult and time consuming aspect.”

Facewatch is the only online crime reporting system that is officially supported and accredited by ACPO as an official police security initiative.

Operating closely with police forces, the scheme works by gathering and creating a database of new and known offenders so that data can be shared between businesses.

The technology allows businesses to report and share information about crimes that

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