New ways of stamping out retail crime will be discussed at a conference this week, attended by delegates from across Europe and addressed by home secretary Jack Straw and Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Condon.
One of the security schemes under srutiny will be the introduction of an 'intranet' computer system at the big Bluewater shopping development in Dartford, Kent. Details of thieves or people acting suspiciously in the centre can be passed to all retailers at the flick of a switch.
In a separate move, developers of the new Bluewater centre have hired 22 Kent police officers at a cost of£750,000 a year. It is the first time that a police force has entered such an agreement with a private contractor.