Facewatch, the online crime reporting system for small businesses and retailers, has gained a major endorsement from the National Federation of Retail Newsagents which has signed up as the organisation’s first national sponsor.
The newsagents are banding together to employ advanced internet technology to combat crime, using the Facewatch application that works like a cross between an identity parade and Facebook.
Started in 2010 by Simon Gordon, Facewatch enables small businesses to report crime and record vital information for the police as soon as an incident occurs. It provides a complete online evidential package including images, CCTV footage and witness statements.
With endorsements from leading police officers nationwide, Facewatch has been shown to improve conviction rates, save police time and help victims by providing them with an instant crime reference number and free cancellation of payment cards.
Graeme Gerrard, DCC Cheshire Constabulary and the ACPO lead on CCTV, said, “Victims of crime will… benefit as they will be able to pass details of their crime to the police without having to wait for an officer to attend, yet can be safe in the knowledge that all the information has been relayed to the police securely and speedily.”
In the three-year deal with the NFRN, Facewatch will enable over 16,500 independent shops to participate in a ground breaking initiative to quantify an accurate picture of the prevalence of low level crime and take action to reduce it in partnership with police forces across the UK.
The scheme will provide NFRN members with a bespoke crime recording module which will be a very simple way to record all shoplifting and other low level crimes as they occur, providing accurate and real-time statistics on crime across the UK, whether reported to the police or not.
Members will also be able to use the full Facewatch crime reporting system for reporting crime directly to the police as it is adopted by forces throughout the UK. It will allow shop owners and managers to record an incident without leaving their tills, as well as record data on shrinkage which currently goes unreported.
Facewatch has already proven its effectiveness in pilots in London throughout 2011 to deter and reduce low level crime.
For NFRN members who do not have CCTV cameras, special package deals will be available through Facewatch/NFRN partners.
NFRN members will benefit from:
- Text-based recording system for quicker crime stats recording
- Access to Crime Map showing real crime levels for NFRN membership, providing valuable lobbying information by highlighting the real level of under-reporting of crime
- Development of smartphone apps for members to increase efficiency of communication with members
- NFRN Board position on Facewatch & Partners (Chaired by Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas)
- Special offers for members with discounts from partners
Kieran McDonnell, National President of the NFRN, said, “The NFRN has been campaigning on the problem of retail crime for many years and I am delighted that we have now been able to take this leading role in bringing Facewatch, not only to all our members, but all independent retailers. I think this initiative will be a big step forward in helping members fight the menace of crime in their shops whilst at the same time equipping us with the statistical information that will enable us to achieve the level of police and government attention this problem deserves.”
Paul Baxter, NFRN Chief Executive, and Simon Gordon, Facewatch Founder, will be speaking at the Retail crime conference on the 19th April (headline speaker Lord Henley) about this exciting world leading initiative.