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Pivoting to address the changing face of crime

August 15, 2022 by Alistair Enser

Working closely and collaboratively with their end-user partners it is important that the Security Industry regularly reviews what it is that it is protecting. We work in a fast-paced, technologically-evolving world, resulting in a shift in the type and frequency of crimes committed. As risks change, we must pivot and adapt.

To that end, the latest crime statistics for England and Wales make interesting reading. For anyone keen to understand where risk lies for the general public like everything else, it would appear that the pandemic has affected crime. The latest numbers present a mixed case.

With little opportunity for opportunistic crime such as theft and robbery during lockdown, criminals turned to fraud and computer misuse, which is up 37%. While many types of crime are back at levels seen before lockdown, robbery has decreased by 20%, perhaps because working from home has become widespread?

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Violent crime is up, however, with homicides up 25% and the number of knife crimes reported by the police is up 10%. The number of sexual offences rose by 32% to the highest annual figure recorded in England and Wales, at 194,683 offences. This includes the highest recorded annual number of rape offences (70,330 offences). Sombre reading.

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That said, the Office of National Statistics warns that “caution is needed when interpreting these figures as they may reflect a number of factors including the impact of high-profile cases and campaigns on victims’ willingness to report incidents.”

Helping the police do their job

What is worrying though is that the prosecution rate has fallen at the same time. Just over five per cent of crimes result in someone being charged a year after they were reported. Indeed, while a record number of criminal offences were reported last year, according to the Office for National Statistics the rate of those being charged fell to a new low.

According to The Times, “The proportion of crimes resulting in a charge within a year fell to 5.6 per cent — down 7.1 per cent on the previous year and continuing a downward trend since 2015, when 15.5 per cent of crimes led to a suspect being charged within a year.” Over the past year, two million investigations were dropped as no suspect was identified, including more than 300,000 violent crimes and more than a million thefts.

For me, the important point for the Security Industry to take from this is how it can support the authorities to better collect, handle and share evidence. What can we do to simplify the processes and help reduce the impact and drain on valuable front line resources? How do we all achieve more with less?

At our recent Technology and Innovation Day, delegates heard about developments in digital evidence management, and how the integration of technologies can enable more efficient processing and review of mass data for evidence, and how this can then be packed and submitted in digital evidence packs while allowing for important factors such as redaction, compliance and respect to data protection and privacy.

We also saw how this same technology makes sharing video as part of formal requests equally simple – an increasing concern and huge resource issue for local authorities and organisations that capture video and who are required to share it under freedom of information requests.

Changing risks, but common challenges

At Reliance High-Tech we work across a range of sectors. We protect the public sector with control rooms that we design, install and manage. We work with the police and law enforcement agencies in providing digital evidence rooms and custody suites. We provide multi-site corporations and universities with integrated security stems that keep their people, property and assets safe, and we also work directly at the highest levels of government to keep critical parts of the UK’s national infrastructure safe and secure.

While a diverse group of bodies at first glance, all these groups have a challenge in common – namely, capturing and managing the large volumes of data their systems generate, making sense of that data and using it to deliver outcomes and value, not just security.

Whether that is protecting a company from insider threats, helping automate visitor management and occupancy, identifying a suspect from hours of video footage on a crowded station platform, or being automatically alerted to someone brandishing a knife through video analytics. All these groups are resource-limited – none more so than the police and our emergency workers – so it is our job as an industry to everyone do more with less.

For more information, call us at 0845 121 0802 or contact info@reliancehightech.co.uk