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"The Million Pound Tactic"

Published in the Worcester Evening News

People watching is the way in which human beings utilise their senses. They watch and analyse, constantly looking for signs of aggression, fear and friendliness. Much like a computer, the human brain stores and researches the input of data which it receives and acts accordingly. Taking this into consideration, one would imagine that the art of surveillance would come quite naturally but this is far from the truth. There are folk among us who, by their very nature, look and act suspiciously, probably more to do with their genetic make up than anything more sinister.

Surveillance is an art form with the ideal operator likely to be the archetypal grey man, not too tall or too short, bereft of distinctive features and dressed in neutral colours. Such a person will blend into most environments with the ability of not gaining unnecessary attention from the general public. However, the mundane appearance belies an individual who possesses a quick and sharp mind with excellent retention abilities. The surveillance operative is, in fact, highly skilled, well trained with a surfeit of theatrical skills and will constantly be reviewing and analysing everything around him without raising suspicion.

Choosing to ignore losses sustained through theft, shoplifting and sweethearting, for example, is currently costing UK plc millions of pounds a year which, in turn, will ultimately result in higher prices and lost sales. In many cases, such crimes can, and will, totally destroy a business. This is where covert surveillance techniques come into their own. Suspicion is not evidence and as every theft occurs in a completely unique location, sites do require analysis before tailor-made equipment is installed to maximise video coverage and virtual invisibility Video surveillance is an excellent tool for evidentiary purposes and miniature covert video cameras can be hidden inside the most mundane objects to great effect. Every movement can be recorded in the case of suspect employees, every cash register transaction can be recorded and superimposed onto video-tape and every telephone call can be monitored. These surveillance techniques provide vital evidence for prospecution purposes whilst complying with employee law.

Most of us perceive surveillance as being associated with the 'dirty mac brigade' or bugs. Whereas the first assumption is fallacy the second is illegal in virtually every country in the world, unless condoned by the courts. Surveillance operatives are the infantry of the intelligence world. They provide skilled, professional services where the use of powerful evidentiary tools are so essential in the fight against employee crime. Crime does not pay but covert surveillance definitely does.



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