The British Retail Consortium’s annual retail crime survey, featured in the Retail Risk newsletter last week, has been prompting security industry comment.

Simon Chapman, managing director of Lodge Service, a top 30 security company with 94 years’ experience in the industry, says the survey shows “the standard approach of the security sector to retail crime is not working – with crime rising to record levels, and the direct financial cost suffered by the industry at £660m.

“The BRC report highlights the rise of cybercrime, but customer theft remains the most common type of crime, accounting for 75% by incidents and 66% of the direct cost, at £438m. CCTV, tagging, guarding and other measures – in the way they are used conventionally are not working.

 “A strategy based on intelligence data and focused deployment: this is the only proven way to counter the increasing professionalism and specialisation of criminals, wherever this occurs in the supply chain. This includes dealing with the rise in malicious insider incidents, which some 29% of retailers report are rising.

“It is totally unacceptable that retail staff continue to suffer high levels of violence and abuse, which rose by 40%. Last year there were 51 incidents of violence and abuse per 1000 staff – up from 41 last year.

“The data and technology is available to target and tackle this problem, together with the training that staff need to avoid or diffuse situations of potential violence and danger. This has been an area of disinvestment by many retailers – when a targeted approach can reap dividends, at no extra cost.”