Oldest Forum Inspires the Youngest as Blitzes Cross the Irish Sea
Inspired by the work of the Fashion Forum (ORIS Forums’ longest-established retail loss prevention forum), the Irish Retail Loss Prevention Forum (the youngest of the nine forums) adopted a blitz programme whereby Police and retailers work together as part of concerted days of action to reduce business crime.
In Ireland, An Garda Síochána are members of the Irish Forum with the official blessing of Chief Superintendent Patrick Leahy, the assistant commissioner for the Garda’s Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR). Officials at the DMR, which is working with the Irish Forum to reduce store crime by 5 per cent, said the initiative has been a major success.
The initiative targeted prolific shop thieves and those with outstanding arrest warrants at their homes and in and around shopping centres. Action was also taken at the city’s major retail parks—Dundrum, Blanchardstown, St. Stephen’s Green, the Square Shopping Centre, the ILAC, and the Pavillions—over a period of three weeks during June and July. In one of the direct action initiatives, eighteen people were arrested, and five cars allegedly linked to serious organised crime gangs were seized.
Back in the UK, the Fashion Forum has continued its blitz activities, with five successful events taking place so far during 2017.
The idea behind this initiative is for retailers to join forces with Police, business crime reduction partnerships, town centre management bodies, the National Business Crime Solution, and business improvement districts in hotspot town centre areas for a “blitz” day aimed at disrupting shoplifters.
ORIS Forums has built stronger relationships with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), which also provided essential training for more than fifty forum members on evidence gathering, child sexual exploitation (CSE), human slavery, credit card fraud, and illegal drug use—in particular Spice, the once “legal” high particularly prevalent in the northwest.
The training, which took place in Manchester, attracted more than fifty store staff from more than a dozen retailers. The training was offered by Sergeant Joanne Shaw who works in the city centre as a business liaison officer with close links to retail and the hospitality sectors.
The feedback was positive, including comments from Tina Russell, profit protection manager for New Look in Manchester who said, “The session was great, very informative, and Joanne was approachable, knowledgeable, and patient. She answered all of our questions and ensured that we were ready to move on to the next section. The content was interesting and shocking in places, which is a good thing as it makes people take notice and remember what was covered.
“Having a chance to network with the other retailers was also very important to us. I would welcome the opportunity to share local information, latest trends, et cetera, as well as to learn techniques used for fraud/theft and how to counteract them.”
Fashion Forum chair Colin Culleton said, “Previously GMP had received negative feedback from the Fashion Forum because of poor response rates in the city centre. Such forum initiatives are seen as a positive step in renewing relationships between the Police and the business community.”
ORIS Forums has built stronger relationships with Greater Manchester Police, which also provided essential training for more than fifty forum members on evidence gathering, child sexual exploitation, human slavery, credit card fraud, and illegal drug use.