Crime prevention scheme Facewatch, which enables retailers to share information and CCTV images, could save an average national chain store in the UK £100m a year based on a 10% reduction in theft, according to new figures presented by the business to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Crime Conference.
Facewatch enables police to work more closely within the business community and to demonstrate greater success in solving crimes.
In light of the August riots this has become a key priority for all police forces and business, the company claims.
By instantly providing the full CCTV evidential package and approved witness statement online, Facewatch said it is enabling retailers, businesses and the police to form a genuine partnership on a national basis for the first time ever.
In 2010, £1.1bn worth of goods were stolen from UK retailers, according to the BRC. The under-reporting of customer theft could be as high as 100,000 offences per annum, BRC figures show. UK shrinkage represents an estimated 1.3% of retail sales. “[In 2010]..crime put an extra £180 on the average British family’s annual shopping bill,” said Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research.
According to the BRC, businesses currently invest £210m each year to fight crimes, which Facewatch could help to prevent. Indeed shrinkage has become such a widespread issue Mike Weatherley MP has recently set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Retail and Business Crime.
Simon Gordon, chairman and founder of Facewatch, said: “Having worked as a chartered accountant and finance director in business I can immediately recognise the huge financial benefit Facewatch can, and indeed already does, provide for businesses.”
Detective chief inspector Mick Neville said: “It is vital businesses and police work in partnership to ensure CCTV results in persistent offenders being brought to justice. If businesses can quickly provide clear images of suspects from their CCTV system, rather than just providing a disc with hours of footage, police time can be better spent on identifying and arresting the criminals. It will also ensure offenders know CCTV produce results and prevent more crime in the long term.”