One store was responsible for one third of shop based crime in the West End area of Westminster, London, in 2004. This amounted to 900 citizens' arrests being carried out by internal security staff between January and October.
A joint visit was carried out by an environmental health enforcement officer from Westminster City Council, and a police crime prevention officer (CPO). The company had very few procedures in place to protect the health and safety of their staff in terms of work-related violence, in spite of clear evidence that the risk of violence was a significant issue for staff working in the premises.
As a result of the inspection, the following steps were taken:
- A full security audit was commissioned and carried out by a specialist contractor.
- The final report made a number of important recommendations which built upon the advice presented to the company by the CPO on previous visits.
- This included the need to: improve security lines of sight, reposition CCTV, modify the arrangements for the display of goods for sale, provide additional training for staff, change the way cash is moved around the store and provide better security in the cash office.
In 2004, this store had accounted for 36% of all shoplifting arrests in this police district. In 2005, following the implementation of the above recommendations, this had fallen to 13%.
A reduction in crime of this order has had a significant effect, not only in terms of actual incidents of violence involving staff, but also their perception of risk and fear of crime.