Our ground-breaking partnership with Criminologists at UoL

Our ground-breaking partnership with Criminologists at UoL


In a first of its kind initiative, Concept Smoke Screen is partnering with criminologists from the University of Lincoln to assess the impact of their systems on retail loss prevention and on crime in surrounding communities.

The new partnership was born out of Concept's 'Connected' campaign, which urges a radical rethink of the private security industry's approach to crime prevention. A significant part of the Connected project focuses on collaboration between academia and industry to address structural-level causes of crime and approaches to tackling them.

This initial study, with the Criminology team of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln, will also act as a pilot for further investigation into the way that security systems manufacturers and security users can work cooperatively with researchers to share data, providing insights into criminal trends and patterns which have not traditionally been available to either group.

"We're hugely excited about this new partnership and the insights it will provide for ourselves and our clients," Concept MD Matt Gilmartin said. "We see it as both extremely valuable in itself, and as the first step in an ongoing collaboration with the University of Lincoln team."

Matt Gilmartin, Smoke Screen

"Data is absolutely critical to intelligent crime prevention planning, and being able to assess that data in a wider, holistic context will allow us to make smarter choices about how and where our systems are deployed. And we'll also be better able to advise Smoke Screen users about the broader social impact of these sorts of loss prevention measures."

Dr Sue Bond-Taylor, Senior Lecturer and Criminology Programme Leader in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln, said: "The University of Lincoln Criminology team welcome this opportunity to support Concept's ambition to become pioneers within the security industry. Their aim is to promote a more ethical and sustainable industry, in which private security companies can make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate, and we are excited to help them achieve this vision."

Dr Nick Cowen will lead the quantitative data team on the project.

Dr Nick Cowen, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Lincoln

"By pooling data from across multiple sites and multiple retailers, we expect to be able to produce precise and up-to-date estimates about the impact of loss prevention strategies, as well as where, when and how the application of these strategies is likely to be most effective," he said.

"Additionally, because we will be establishing the broader social impact of effective loss prevention on the public's experience of crime and disorder, we anticipate that this will help Concept's clients substantiate and document their contributions to wider public values according to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance criteria."

This initial project has been made possible thanks to a productivity voucher from The Productivity Programme for Greater Lincolnshire, delivered by the University of Lincoln and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Productivity vouchers provide micro, small and medium businesses with the academic capacity and technical expertise of the University to address a specific business need to drive forward a new idea, product, process or service.

Concept Smoke Screen is an award-winning Lincolnshire-based electronic security system manufacturer, specialising in security fogging technology. The Smoke Screen range of products provides direct but harmless confrontation to criminal intrusion, while simultaneously defending high risk property.

Productivity Programme for Greater Lincolnshire

Anthony Hildebrand

The editor of Connected, Anthony is a real good writer and journalist with a background in security and technology publishing. There’s every chance you met him at that thing that one time.


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