Home Office
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Designers to find new ways of protecting shopkeepers from crime

Designers to find new ways of protecting shopkeepers from crime

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 25 September 2009

A competition has been opened for designers to develop new ideas or methods to tackle retail crimes such as shoplifting, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said today,

Design students from across the country are being invited to enter the competition as part of the national Retail Crime Action Plan, which sets out a broad range of actions to tackle crime against retailers and small businesses.

The competition is part of the Home Secretary's Design and Technology Alliance's work to "design out" crime. It is aimed at generating innovative and cost-effective ways of stopping crimes likes shoplifting or "dipping" with measures such as new types of packaging, new shop layouts or products such as more secure trolleys and baskets.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:

"I am determined to ensure that small businesses are not taken advantage of during these hard economic times. This competition is just one part of our Retail Crime Action Plan which is providing real support where it is most needed.

"Innovative design has been used to tackle a range of crimes including theft of cars and mobile phones, fraud and burglary and I am confident that this competition will lead to some similarly effective solutions. I would encourage all designers to take part in that process.

"Alongside this we're providing real help now to small retailers with a £5 million fund to pay for improved security in the places it is most needed."

The competition was developed by Dr Lorraine Gamman, Professor of Design Studies at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and lead on business crime for the Design and Technology Alliance (DTA). It will be run by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce as part of its Design Directions project.

Dr Gamman said:

"We aim to inspire designers to be more ingenious than shoplifters by using their creativity and cunning to deliver "state of the art" secure design solutions that make the risk of being caught more real. This competition offers a unique opportunity for design innovation.

"I hope to see a paradigm shift - inventive use of inexpensive technologies, and even designs that let us all know whether products have been paid for or not."

The Home Office and RSA have previously worked together, led by designer Adam Thorpe, to develop new and innovative measures to tackle crime. They have collaborated with the Bikeoff 2 research project to look at design-led strategies to reduce the risk of bike theft and increase cycle use in cities. One of the designs, an m-shaped bike stand enabling cyclists to lock their bikes through both wheels making it more secure, was taken up by a bike parking manufacturer and distributed across the UK.

The results of the competition can be viewed at http://www.rsadesigndirections.org/design-directions/2008-09/exh/project/index.php.


1. For more information about the competition go to www.rsadesigndirections.org/projects/projects11.html

2. The Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP) was launched in August 2009. It was developed by the National Retail Crime Steering Group drawn up in partnership with the Government and the retail industry. It details a broad range of actions to tackle crimes against retailers and small businesses. They include a Securing Your Business online risk assessment tool, developed by crime prevention experts, which businesses can complete to identify simple measures they can take to reduce the risk of crime. For more information about the Retail Crime Action Plan and the Securing your Business tool go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime-victims/reducing-crime/business-retail-crime/

3. The RCAP also includes a Small Retailers Grants Fund of £5 million to provide grants of up to £3,000 to small retailers in 50 priority areas to buy crime prevention devices such as security grills, alarms or UV markers. For more information ring 0845 223 5454, log on to www.grantsadmin.co.uk/smallretailerscapitalfund or email smallretailerscapitalfund@grantsadmin.co.uk

4. The RCAP is part of a wider programme of work to tackle crimes such as robbery and burglary. Other initiatives include the Vigilance Programme which provides additional resources to 35 areas across the country to deal with emerging challenges in burglary and robbery by cracking down on known and repeat offenders.

5. The Design & Technology Alliance was established by the Home Office in 2007 and is tasked with bringing about innovation and encouraging others to 'think crime' in the first stages of design, planning and product development. It is comprised of ten experts from the world of design industry and law enforcement.

6. Historically design has been used to address a number of different crimes including:

* the number of skyjackings decreased from around 70 per year to 15 in the 1970s as a result of passenger and baggage screening;

* chip and PIN has helped reduce fraud on lost or stolen cards to its lowest total since APACS began collating fraud loss figures in 1991;

* BCS figures show theft of vehicles has reduced by 51% since 1997 as a result of improved security being designed into the vehicle;

* an evaluation of houses built to the ACPO Secured By Design (SBD) standards showed that these experience 26% less crime than non SBD houses, and residents fear of crime is lower; and

* research in Liverpool in 2001 showed domestic burglary reduced by 37% due to alleygates.

4. For more information contact the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.



Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535