In the first of its kind in the UK, Mitie has partnered with University of Cambridge criminologists to undertake research into retail crime to help businesses reduce cases of theft and violence against shop-workers. The innovative research will focus on how businesses can leverage technology, such as remotely monitored CCTV and real-time security alerts for shop-workers, in combination with Security Officers on the ground to reduce retail crime.
The partnership will see Mitie provide University of Cambridge criminologists with access to anonymous crime data – such as details on thefts and incidents of violence against shop-workers – on behalf of national retail customers, sharing information from its stores across the UK. The research team will use this information, alongside data on the number of Security Officers and technology solutions available at each store, to test if a change in the blend of on-site Security Officers and technology can help reduce crime. Data, including thefts and incidents of violence, will be recorded following each change to determine if there’s a correlation between that and the number of crimes.
Dr Matthew Bland, Lecturer in Evidence Based Policing, University of Cambridge, said:
“The Institute of Criminology at Cambridge 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 research will also analyse the impact of these different combinations of security solutions with other factors, such as the time of day or store location. For example, this can include increasing the number of Security Officers in stores at times of the day when thefts are more likely or installing more CCTV cameras in sites with low foot-traffic. The University’s team of researchers will then analyse all of this data to identify trends and new opportunities for Mitie to improve its support for customers.
Jason Towse, Managing Director, Business Services, Mitie, said:
“Once again we’re leading the industry with a unique security partnership to help fight crime across the UK. We’re very 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 shop-workers on the rise, this research will be key to keeping our customers, people and communities safe.”
University of Cambridge criminologists will publish the results to create the first evidence-based approach to retail crime. This will then be available to Police Forces and other organisations in the retail and security industries. While the research will initially focus on one supermarket chain, over time more of Mitie’s national retail customers will be invited to participate in the initiative.