Press Release

25 June 2021

Mitie and the University of Cambridge team-up to fight retail crime

  • Mitie has partnered with University of Cambridge criminologists to undertake cutting-edge research into retail crime to help businesses reduce cases of theft and violence against shopworkers
  • The partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and is part of Mitie’s commitment to work with public and private sectors organisations to fight crime
  • With retail crime rising across the UK, the initiative will help keep shopworkers and customers safe

Mitie has joined forces with the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, one of the world’s leading institutes in criminology, in a pioneering partnership to undertake research into retail crime, including theft and violence against shopworkers. The innovative research will focus on how businesses can leverage technology, such as remotely monitored CCTV and real-time security alerts for shopworkers, in combination with Security Officers on the ground to reduce retail crime. The initiative is the first of its kind in the UK and demonstrates Mitie’s commitment to work with public and private sector organisations to help keep the nation safe.

The partnership will see Mitie provide University of Cambridge criminologists with access to anonymous crime data – such as details on thefts and incidents of violence against shopworkers – on behalf of national retail customers, sharing information from its stores across the UK. The research team will use this information, alongside data on the number of Security Officers and technology solutions available at each store, to test if a change in the blend of on-site Security Officers and technology can help reduce crime. Data, including thefts and incidents of violence, will be recorded following each change to determine if there’s a correlation between that and the number of crimes.

The research will also analyse the impact of these different combinations of security solutions with other factors, such as the time of day or store location. For example, this can include increasing the number of Security Officers in stores at times of the day when thefts are more likely or installing more CCTV cameras in sites with low foot-traffic. The University’s team of researchers will then analyse all of this data to identify trends and new opportunities for Mitie to improve its support for customers.

University of Cambridge criminologists will publish the results to create the first evidence-based approach to retail crime. This will then be available to Police Forces and other organisations in the retail and security industries. While the research will initially focus on one supermarket chain, over time more of Mitie’s national retail customers will be invited to participate in the initiative.

Jason Towse, Managing Director, Business Services, Mitie, said:

“Once again we’re leading the industry with a unique security partnership to help fight crime across the UK. We’re very proud to be working with the University of Cambridge, which has one of the world’s leading institutes in criminology, to develop this data-driven approach to help us stay one step ahead of the criminals targeting our high streets. With retail crime and violence against shopworkers on the rise, this research will be key to keeping our customers, people and communities safe.”  

Dr Matthew Bland, Lecturer in Evidence Based Policing, University of Cambridge, said:

“The Institute of Criminology at Cambridge has a long history of working with crime fighting organisations all over the world, to develop the evidence about what works and what doesn’t in reducing harm. We are excited to be able to continue this work by testing innovations in retail security and look forward to sharing our findings with the wider Evidence-Based Policing community in due course”.

The partnership will be underpinned by Mitie’s Global Security Operations (GSO) service, its technology and intelligence-led security solution, and is part of Mitie’s efforts to work with public and private sector organisations to help fight crime across the UK. For example, Mitie partnered with independent charity Crimestoppers to share information on criminal behaviour gathered by businesses to support police investigations. As part of the initiative, Mitie and Crimestoppers have launched a report highlighting the key factors and trends driving retail crime and inviting people to anonymously share any information on criminal activity in retail stores.

Notes to editors

About Mitie 

Founded in 1987, Mitie’s job is to look after places where Britain works and is the leading facilities management company in the UK. We offer a range of services to Central Government and Defence customers; Communities (Healthcare, Education and Local Authorities); and Technical Services(Engineering Services, Energy, Water and Real Estate Services) and Business Services (Security, Cleaning and Office Services) to Private Sector clients in Financial Services, Manufacturing, Transport, Retail and Telecoms and increasingly to the public sector. Finally, our Specialist Services (Care & Custody, Landscapes and Waste Management) division serves both the public and private sector in higher margin niche businesses. 

Mitie acquired Interserve’s FM business in December 2020 and now employs 77,500 people we are the champion of the ‘Front-Line Heroes’ who have kept Britain working during the COVID-19 pandemic. We take care of our customers’ people and buildings, through the ‘Science of Service’, delivering essential services and deploying industry leading technology to create safe and effective workspaces. 

The business continues to execute its technology-led strategy and in the past six months has received multiple awards

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About the University of Cambridge

The Institute of Criminology has a worldwide reputation for excellence in both research and teaching. Founded by Sir Leon Radzinowicz in 1959, it was one of the first criminological institutes in Europe and has exerted a strong influence on the development of the discipline. Many of its academic staff are international leaders in their fields. Staff hail from multidisciplinary international backgrounds and their interests cover a broad range of topics. In recognition of their outstanding research, Cambridge criminologists have been awarded numerous prestigious international awards.

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