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most simply goes unreported.” detective, a plain clothes security Geoffrey
“If retailers got together like the operative was often seen hanging Northcott
Fashion Forum or in the book about the aisles, fell out of favour
industry the Book Sellers Loss in the later part of the last century.
Prevention Consortium, they Northcott’s new model will allow
would be more effective and that is for arrest and the store detective
the rationale behind TLPC.” to carry out full and structured
Northcott was instrumental in interviews to provide police officers
bringing a notorious gang of book with full and oven ready cases to
thieves to ‘book’ and seizing £1 prosecute. It will also provide the
million of assets through a ground retailers with real time first hand
breaking High Court judgement intelligence from the thief.
against Ronnie Jordan. His gang “This is intelligence led loss
had been behind the theft of prevention. When I took this idea
thousands of travel guides across of outsourcing to Borders they
London and the south East and liked the idea of it because LP is
once arrested, civil recovery not core to their business, it is
proceedings were launched against ancillary. Since we have out “Intelligence gathering has got to
his business interests. outsourced costs has been work better. Someone who has
“We took Ronnie Jordon through significantly reduced without any been dismissed for dishonesty and
the Royal Courts of Justice and we adverse impact on shrink.” leaves before their exit interview is
were awarded £500,000 in costs “It makes financial sense because ever likely to turn up at another
and damages and £400,000 worth of the salary of a LP manager who retailer’s and this is simply to do
of books were returned to us. The will also spend at least 50% of his with high churn.”
investment was £200,000 and after or her time travelling and as such Northcott also favours taking loss
the case, theft in those stores of will be less effective. This way prevention outsourcing to its logical
travel guides dropped by 60%. It allows us to exchange high level conclusion.
was the first time damages for a information while gathering street “Maybe in the future it comes
civil tort were sought against a 2nd level intelligence.” down to retailers having their own
level criminal and we won.” Northcott who has spent a lot of private police forces, a resource
Now Northcott, a former officer time in the US setting up that they can all share. They would
with Metropolitan Police CID, is re- relationships with civil recovery have the powers of arrest, evidence
introducing an old favourite into and interview training companies gathering and prosecution.
the loss prevention armoury – the wants to see loss prevention Retailers feel that they have been
store detective. Once de-reguer managed upwards on to the abandoned by the police so it may
from the 60s and 80s the store boardroom agenda. be time to pool resources to get
crime out of retail altogether.”
This process is already
commencing in the civil arena. As in
the case of Ronnie Jordan, TPLC has
teamed up with Palmer Reifler, the
largest civil recovery company in
the world, to go after ‘second-level’
“These are the guys with the
assets, not the shoplifters,” adds
The future shape of loss
prevention is changing and in
Geoffrey Northcott’s world, for the
better. Collaboration is going to be
key in terms of retailers seizing the
initiative and taking control of their
own outputs to influence the
ultimate outcomes. The TLPC model
is one that will trigger debate as
Northcott’s approach may split the
loss prevention community in what
Shoplifters could be described as the Marmite
are not syndrome – you either love his
always so thinking or hate it. There is no
easy to spot room for indifference. RF
ISSUE 4 AUGUST 2009 • 19
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