LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: The smashed windows of a jewellery store in Ealing Broadway shopping centre following a night of rioting in Ealing on August 9, 2011 in London, England. Sporadic looting, arson and clashes with police continued for a third day in parts of the capital, as well as in Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Security expert Hilaire O’Shea and founder of Medusa Protection Ltd will host a seminar and an advice clinic at this year’s International Jewellery London, focusing on how retailers can protect themselves from smash and grab raids. 

Here, Professional Jeweller talks to O’Shea to find out more…

Q: What issues will you be discussing in your talk at International Jewellery London?


The Seminar is titled `Victor or Victim’ because many retailers think that security is something they buy when it’s actually an attitude. They think that they must choose between great security and great customer service – they don’t! Almost every crime against the retailer follows a set pattern and is rehearsed by the criminal, so great customer service can harden your store as a target, act as a deterrent and increase sales. So buy learning some simple techniques you can choose not to be a victim of crime and be a victor in sales performance.

Q: Smash and grabs have been in the news recently and you’ve introduced the new Medusa system which looks very interesting. Can you tell us any more about this?

Medusa is the result of extensive research into why smash-and-grab is so successful. It came down to three points – first, current showcase offers little resistance to a determined thief, second, current security products rely on staff to activate them and can take too long to be effective and thirdly the stock is easy to transport away and dispose of.

Medusa solves all three problems – the Medusa showcase resists the most ferocious of attack, it activates instantly without the intervention of staff and very importantly foam covers the stock and hides it from view – preventing it from being removed from the premises. This fulfils the retailer’s duty of care to staff, it also reduces the cost of insurance as no loss is recorded – the stock can be cleaned and resold. Finally, the foam is a visible deterrent. Any thieves planning the attack will see the Medusa logo and recognise that their efforts are futile. This will deter them from targeting the store which will lead to a reduction in attacks as more retailers chose Medusa protection.

Q: What do you think retailers still need to learn about security? With Hatton Garden and smash and grabs it seems like there’s plenty of reason to remain vigilant.

True, but vigilance is only effective when you know what you’re looking for. As I said earlier almost every crime against the retailer follows a set pattern and is rehearsed by the criminal, so retailers need to recognise criminal behaviour at the planning stage – the suspicious behaviour by customers and staff that is setting up the crime to be committed. This is where communication is vital – with local law enforcement, your trade association – SaferGems and your neighbours, sharing information about the latest techniques so you can stop the crime happening – prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure.

Hilaire O’Shea, retail security expert, Medusa Protection Ltd and SPC Support UK Ltd, Victim or Victor, September 6, 2.15pm-3.15pm, London Room; Security Advice Clinic, September 6, 4pm-5pm and September 7, 1pm-2pm.