Mitie is collaborating with the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, one of the world’s foremost authorities in criminology, to research retail crime.
The crime-busting study will emphasise how businesses can leverage technology, such as remotely monitored CCTV and real-time security alerts for shop workers, combined with on-site security personnel to beat retail crime and violence against staff.
The initiative is the first of its kind in the UK and Mitie says it demonstrates its commitment to work with public and private sector organisations to keep the nation safe.
Mitie will provide the university’s criminologists with access to anonymous crime data – such as data on thefts and incidents of violence against shopworkers – on behalf of national retail clients, sharing information from its stores across the UK. The research team will use this intelligence, alongside data on the number of security officers and technology solutions available at each store, to see if a change in the mix of on-site security guards and technology can help to cut crime. Data, including thefts and incidents of violence, will be recorded following each change to determine if there is a correlation between that and the number of crimes.
The study will also analyse the effect of these different combinations of security solutions with other factors, such as the time of day or location. For example, this could include increasing the number of security staff in stores at times of the day when thefts are more likely or installing more CCTV cameras in less crowded areas. The university’s researchers will then analyse all of this data to identify trends and opportunities for Mitie to improve its support for clients.
The academic team will publish the results to create the first evidence-based approach to retail crime. This will be made available to the police and other bodies in the retail and security sectors. Although the research will initially focus on one chain, over time more of Mitie’s national retail customers will be encouraged to take part in the study.
Jason Towse, Mitie’s managing director of business services, said: “Once again we’re leading the industry with a unique security partnership to help fight crime across the UK. We’re proud to be working with the University of Cambridge, which has one of the world’s leading institutes in criminology, to develop this data-driven approach to help us stay one step ahead of the criminals targeting our high streets. With retail crime and violence against shopworkers on the rise, this research will be key to keeping our customers, people and communities safe.”
Dr Matthew Bland, lecturer in evidence-based policing at Cambridge, said: “The Institute of Criminology has a long history of working with crime-fighting organisations all over the world, to develop the evidence about what works and what doesn’t in reducing harm. We are excited to be able to continue this work by testing innovations in retail security and look forward to sharing our findings with the wider evidence-based policing community in due course”.
The partnership follows Mitie’s other crime-busting initiatives working with public and private sector organisations. In January it partnered with independent charity Crimestoppers to share information on criminal behaviour gathered by businesses to aid police investigations.
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