Business crime is not a ‘low priority’ or ‘victimless’
PCC blog on Business Crime and what's being done to tackle it in Dorset.
According to the British Retail Consortium, the overall cost of business crime, taking into account both losses and crime prevention costs for retail, has risen year on year and now stands at £2.5 billion, up from £2.2 billion last year. This includes crime prevention spending of £1.2 billion and losses to crime of £1.3 billion, of which customer theft makes up £935 million.
In Dorset, the largest area of business crime is retail crime, predominately theft-based offences including shoplifting, of which shoplifting alone accounts for 17% of all business crime.*
In addition, businesses also suffer from criminal damage (9%), public order (7%) and burglary offences (6%) and of course there are serious concerns over the rise in violence against shopworkers. It is reported that there are over 400 assaults on shopworkers per day. This statistic is especially concerning when you think of how many of our sons and daughters, find their first job working in a shop.
Add the above information together and you will see why I say business crime is not a low priority or victimless.
I have spoken to many business owners since starting my campaign to become Police and Crime Commissioner and I have taken notice of their thoughts and concerns about business and retail crime and I have made tackling this issue a feature of my Police and Crime Plan.
This week, I held the first Business Crime roundtable alongside Inspector Helen Deakin, Dorset Polices’ strategic business crime lead, and we spoke with twenty representatives of national groups and local businesses to start the process of creating a Dorset Safer Business Partnership.
The Partnership will be made up of business representatives and trade bodies and will develop strategies that address issues such as retail crime and violence against shopworkers, and also improve confidence in the police.
To gain that confidence, I know that we must build better evidence about business and retail crime by making it easier, and quicker, for incidents to be reported to Dorset Police. It also vital that data sharing methods are improved alongside current lines of communication to ensure that information and updates are shared across the business community in an effective and efficient manner.
I also plan to strengthen business and retail focussed watch schemes, such as Shop Watch and Hotel Watch. I have to say that Dorset’s Hotel Watch scheme is a beacon of good practice for other areas across the country and I commend the hard work that has gone into making it a success.
But the plans don’t stop there. I want to work with businesses on designing out crime, concentrating on ensuring that the best crime-prevention/environmental design advice is given to businesses across the county and that we also work together to tackle the ever-changing nature of cyber-crime.
Once again, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make Dorset the safest county and I am proud to be able to bring together the business community to help me achieve that vision.
Police and Crime Commissioner
*data obtained from the 1st January 2018 to the 20th September 2021