For those who aren’t familiar with NBCS, where was the concept conceived and what are the initiative’s goals?
The concept was conceived in 2012 when it became apparent that businesses were suffering similar crime risks, but they had no secure way of sharing that data for the benefit of all. This is why the NBCS was then founded. The NBCS is an independent, membership organisation with a goal to enable the effective sharing of appropriate data between the police, crime reduction agencies and the business community to reduce crime and risk to all. Additionally, we endeavour to support businesses by bridging the ever-widening gap between them and policing, by launching new collaborative products and taking the fight directly to prolific offenders.
How important is the Retail market in terms of the wider Security industry?
The Retail market is incredibly important in terms of the wider sector. We have evidenced time and time again that those offenders targeting retailers are not doing so exclusively. If we consider infrastructure crime, for example, we can demonstrate that offenders committing crime against retail are also digging up cables beside railways, putting themselves and our infrastructure at considerable risk. By tackling the offender for the business crime, we can have a wider knock-on effect to other industries and online. Additionally, the intelligence held by retailers is vast with multiple stores, warehouses and other sites spread across the whole country. By utilising that intelligence, we can support holistic strategic decision making across differing spheres.
How has the profile of a Retailer changed in the last few years?
Over the last few years, the retail profile has changed drastically. With greater online footprints and group purchases of household brands, one-stop cross brand experiences are supporting a change in shopping habits. Gone is the once a week shop, we are now in an age where the consumer desires more choice, immediate availability of stock and all at a competitive price. Some measures state a consumer will shop over 27 times a week – online and in stores! Also gone are the days where the police will attend the retail store and investigate every theft. Retailers must take a much more pragmatic approach to dealing with crime, particularly volume business crime. Additionally, the crime landscape itself is changing. No longer is it worth committing a robbery or a burglary. There are much safer crimes to commit which carry a much lower risk of lengthy prison sentences. Risk/reward such as online fraud and three stage refund fraud are examples of this. Only using new technologies and embracing true collaboration (including intelligence and analytics) can businesses expect these offenders to be identified and punished accordingly.
How has professionalism, in terms of both the criminals and the security industry, developed because of these changes?
Criminals are becoming smarter and adapting their techniques to reduce risk to themselves. It is imperative that the security industry, technology users, related standards and businesses keep pace with this transformation. New products such as the NBCS Praesidio software can identify refund fraud in its tracks but only if businesses share their data. GDPR has had a directly negative effect on this data sharing as some businesses feel they can no longer share this type of data, thereby limiting the impact this can have on criminal activity. In answer to these issues many businesses are now outsourcing to professional services to keep up e.g. remote monitoring as opposed to self-monitoring.
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