News Archive

Retail Supplement

by msecadm4921

On desks now, our retail security supplement with the November print issue of Professional Security.

From June to August, the north east regional shopping mall MetroCentre was the star of an eight-part fly on the wall BBC1 evening TV documentary, Trouble in Store. Security and policing were part of the life behind the scenes captured.

How store detectives rely on CCTV to confirm shop theft was shown in the final episode. A plain-clothes store tec, named only as ‘The Duck’, had his eye on two youths, who stole a football. The Duck caught one man and after a brief struggle took him off the public mall and into an access corridor. There, over the radio, The Duck asked the CCTV control room for confirmation from colour camera footage that the detained man, wearing a ‘tea cosy’ hat, had taken the football. Two uniformed centre security officers joined the store detective to cover the suspect. The Duck went back onto the mall to look for the suspect’s accomplice. Over the radio link, he said: “We’ve got a runner,” and with other members of staff chased a second man outside. The CCTV control room confirmed that this accomplice, without a hat, had taken the football. The man with a hat was freed. Earlier, two youths who had stolen a computer game and tracksuit bottoms were processed at the Metrocentre police station. The ringleader of the two was given a final warning – and given an appointment to return to see a youth offending team officer; a further officer would lead toa court case. The other youth was given a ‘reprimand’.


Security, the documentary made clear, is part of the 24-365 operation at the centre, which has a workforce of 7,000. Viewers saw security issues common to shopping centres around the UK: abuse of disabled parking bays, the occasional professional shoplifting team and unsocial behaviour by youngsters. The series – which took 10 months of filing – was with the consent of Northumbria Police, who let cameras roll inside the mall’s police station. The aim: to show crime does not pay, and that even clever thieves such as fraudulent credit card users are (eventually) caught. As Karen Carr, Marketing Manager at MetroCentre, said beforehand: “It was initially quite daunting having a film crew following your every move with a camera and microphone. However, those involved did enjoy the experience. Viewers will find the work of Centre Management, retailers, contractors, the police and security teams very enlightening.”

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