Facewatch crime reporting system could save UK retailers millions of pounds

New results from detailed analysis into the expected return on investment for the Facewatch crime reporting system has been completed and was presented this week to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Crime Conference.

Based on a typical UK national chain store, using a prudent assumption of just 10% reduction in store theft, as a result of using Facewatch, the net savings could be equivalent to £100m of turnover or opening seven new stores or 400 full time employees.

Facewatch system being used to identify a theft
Facewatch system being used to identify a theft

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.   By instantly providing the full CCTV evidential package and approved witness statement online, Facewatch is enabling retailers, businesses and the police to form a genuine partnership on a national basis for the first time ever.

In 2010, £1.1 billion 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 £210 million each year to fight crimes which Facewatch could help to prevent. Indeed shrinkage has become such a widespread issue that Mike Weatherley MP has recently set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Retail and Business Crime.

Yesterday, Simon Gordon, Chairman and Founder of Facewatch, told the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Conference in London, “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 that businesses and police work in partnership to ensure that 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 that offenders know that CCTV produce results and prevent more crime in the long term.”

Nicholas Fox, KPMG Partner, Home Affairs said, “KPMG have been closely following the progress of Facewatch and are impressed by what they have seen. The innovative collaboration with the police has the potential to provide real value and benefits to businesses, police forces and victims of crime”

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor, Policing and London Assembly Member has said, “We have to pull together to beat criminals and Facewatch is a brilliant way to form business and the police into a crime fighting team. I not only support Facewatch but urge businesses to get involved and install the system”.

Simon Gordon, Chairman and Founder of Facewatch

Simon Gordon, a Chartered accountant who was formerly Finance Director of Skandia Life, Royal Trust Fund management and is the owner of one of London’s busiest and best-known wine bars; Gordon’s. As a result on ongoing theft of customers’ belongings Simon founded the Facewatch software.

Since its launch last November, Facewatch has been trialled in the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) in central London.  Other high street names  including Sainsbury’s, Pret A Manger and Hamleys have also trialled the system. This pilot phase has proved immensely successful and following a launch event in September with James Brokenshire MP, Home Office Minister for Crime and Security, Facewatch is now being rolled out across the UK.


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