A new crime prevention scheme called Facewatch has been launched, which enables retailers to share information and CCTV images relating to low-level crime, such as bag theft or shoplifting, online.
It has been piloted in a central London in 35 outlets including Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Oliver Bonas, Vision Express and House of Fraser, and is reported to have driven a significant reduction in crime. It is poised for national roll out.
Facewatch has been developed by Simon Burgess and Simon Gordon, the owner of Gordon’s Wine Bar in London.
It has the support of the police and is claimed to be the only online crime reporting system officially supported and accredited by ACPO, the Association of Britain’s Chief Police Officers.
Working with police forces, the scheme works by gathering and creating a database of new and known offenders so data can be shared between businesses, reducing the opportunities for criminals to strike.
The Facewatch logo is used on the exterior of shops to act as a deterrent to would-be criminals in retail premises.
Following an incident, such as a shoplift, users simply use Facewatch’s screen capture software to record still and moving footage from their CCTV cameras and upload it to the Facewatch web site.
According to the scheme developers, the technology cuts the amount of time taken to report an incident and assemble the required evidence, making it easier and faster to process a conviction.
Gordon said: “As owner of Gordon’s I was fed up with the theft of bags and other items from my customers. Facewatch is my response to this problem and I am delighted we have police and political support and enormous interest from the business community who are keen to work with us.”