News Archive

Crimes Against Business (2)

by msecadm4921

The Government is consulting on business crime. So we reported last month. This month by way of an answer we report on some of the crime and disorder problems faced by businesses.

We spotlight too some of the good work across the UK, much by private security managers co-operating with resource-limited police. First, we introduce some of the themes.
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UK business has the threat not only of armed robbery – with guns, knifes or (given the drug addictions behind so much crime) needles – but violence and aggression. Much of it is drug and alcohol-fuelled. It’s not only an inner-city problem. In Brentwood, Essex, hardly inner-city, one Saturday night before Christmas a mob of youths chanting ‘kill the pigs’ threw bottles at police. These yobs are customers – at petrol stations and other retailers; in the booming night-time economy of pubs and clubs; then buses, taxis and trains; and hospitals, where casualties end up – sometimes after the police undo the handcuffs, leaving offenders in A and E for treatment (see Garry Purdy interview)!
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Fraud
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Fraud is not taken seriously enough. There is no such thing as a victimless crime. The latest British Crime Survey shows a slight rise in fraud cases in the year to September 2002 recorded by police – 326,000. However given that police do not have a Home Office-set target for reducing fraud – in contrast to highly-political targets on street crime – fraud is a non-priority for police.
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Protests
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Animal rights protests continue. The Huntingdon Life Sciences lab in Cambridgeshire has its contract security staff ‘baited’ (to use the word on the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty website www.shac.net), gates blockaded to keep staff from leaving, and staff ‘visited’ at home. For example, HLS Managing Director Brian Cass (who spoke at some industry body events in 2002 about what he and his firm has to put up with) distrubed in the small hours of the New Year at home. Firms connected with HLS – their vet in Newmarket for one – has been a target for graffiti, in an effort to make HLS operations impossible.
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Picking up pieces
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Home Secretary David Blunkett in the new year suggested gangsta rap – a sub-culture celebrating guns and violence – had some effect on rising use of guns illegally. What of mentally disturbed people, in ‘care in the community’. All too often in shopping malls, in hospital reception areas, Security has to pick up the pieces. Take the case at Chelmsford Crown Court before Christmas when an 18-year-old was sent to a young offenders’ institution for a year after he got onto a plane at Stanstead Airport and peed on the pilot seats before security staff arrested him. The man, who said he was mentally ill, admitted entering an airport restricted zone, boarding an aircraft without permission and damaging property.
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Designing out crime
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The Government admits scope for a ‘co-ordinated strategy’ on business crime. Among its suggestions are ‘development of crime-resistance in the design and production of goods, services, buildings’ and ‘an accreditation scheme which sets standards for business processes to meet concerning elimination / minimisation of crime opportunities’. Designing out crime’ Hear, hear. We have featured Guy Collyer (April 2002 – on Secured by Design status for the former DERA site at Farnborough, becoming a huge business park); and Tim Pascoe and Terry Cocks on burglary reduction in hotels (May 2002 edition). All are Designing Out Crime Association members and were speakers at CPTED 2002, the International Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Association gathering in Canada in October.

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