Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) discusses the reliability of crime statistics. Bob writes:
“There has been a lot of media coverage of late questioning the reliability of police crime statistics. This includes all sorts, from claims of overstating the truth, to the downgrading of crimes, and even the erasing of certain categories of crime.
“So if the ‘official’ figures cannot be trusted, what can be done to bolster the quality of data to produce relevant intelligence?
“This question is particularly prevalent in the private security industry, where police data is often used to identify geographical and sector trends. If figures are massaged to hit targets then does this mean we have become complacent?
“You may recall my blog a while ago about the lack of support for business crime – in my view this is also an area which is now filtering into mainstream reporting.
“The statistics around crime reduction have been one of the main justifications for cuts to the policing budget; the knock on effect to the private security industry being that organisations are now looking to private security providers for additional support.
“It is important for us to now lead the way in generating our own intelligence to add value and inform our clients of crime trends. We have regular, current and accurate data in how we record incidents for our clients; the next step is to turn this into intelligence to share trends and shape strategies.
“However, it is important not to confuse data for intelligence, nor to rely too heavily on raw information that is only data and accept statistics on face value. Only when various sources of data are analysed together is the output one that reports influential findings.
“Mitie’s total security management business has invested heavily in creating a service that plots all incidents recorded by MiTec, our technology centre, across thousands of UK locations on an interactive geographical map. We believe it’s important to work with our clients using analysis that can inform their decision making.
“So it’s once again time for the private security sector to evolve and align ourselves in an intelligent way to react to trends emerging in the wider sector.
“Data can always be interpreted and presented in different ways, either to find a news hook or support a point of view. It doesn’t mean that it is not useful, just that it is truer to look at multiple sources in conjunction. I’m really proud that our industry is able to support clients with a more intelligent way of analysing our sector, and related trends.
“I always welcome comments from colleagues and would like to understand your thoughts on this important subject.”
With over 17 years’ experience in the security industry, Bob is a proven achiever at a high level. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.
Bob was promoted to the position of Managing Director of MITIE’s security business in April 2010 after several notable achievements since joining the company in 2004, including his win of the prestigious MITIE new business award.
Having successfully implemented the merger with Initial Security in the Southern region and developing a profitable part of the business, Bob has continuously worked towards expansion including the implementation of the response service, and has significantly contributed towards year on year growth. In June 2009, Bob initiated the launch of the business’ total security management ethos; to take an integrated risk-based approach to security, incorporating people, technology and consultancy services.
Bob continues to move the business forward and has delivered record EBITA profit. He has increased business retention and launched new services lines including lone worker, void secure, employee screening, and security risk and business resilience. Under his leadership, MITIE’s total security management business has grown into an organisation with a turnover in excess of £280m. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA).
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