Sir, With shrinkage rising and August’s riots still fresh in people’s minds, there has never been a more important time to tackle ­retail loss prevention.

The riots were not random or faceless attacks. They were Facebook and Twitter-generated flashmobs planned and executed with military precision. Many offenders brought before the courts were already known to the police. With better intelligence-sharing, they could have been stopped.

The Co-operative Group is a founding sponsor of the Business Crime Intelligence Bureau, a ­private sector initiative that links businesses and law enforcement agencies with shared intelligence. Established over a year ago in ­response to the growing numbers of unsolved linked crimes, the not-for-profit bureau has led officers to a number of serious cross-border arrests and prosecutions involving tens of thousands of pounds.

Before, businesses were not sharing crime information, so the patterns and size of the crime were not being identified. That meant it was not visible to the police and businesses could not influence the law enforcement response. Thanks to the bureau, that is changing. The bureau is also working with the government-led multi-agency GAIN initiative, which shares intelligence with local authority enforcement officers and HMRC. Results include the co-ordination of details of 140 offences across the estate of one member, nationally.

Paul Winstanley, national operations manager, asset and profit protection, specialist retail, The Co-operative Group

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