Tackling Business Crime in Dorset
I would like to take the opportunity that National Business Crime Week affords and talk to you a bit about where I stand on tackling business crime in Dorset.
During my campaign to become Police and Crime Commissioner, I spoke to many business owners and took notice of their thoughts and concerns about business and retail crime. This resulted in tackling business crime becoming a feature in my Police and Crime Plan. Now, over a year on, I want to reaffirm my commitment to working with local businesses and Dorset Police to keep on tackling this issue.
Business crime is not a low priority or a victimless crime. Businesses can be affected by many different crimes, such as theft, ASB, cyber-crime and fraud, commercial burglary, and violence against shop workers. Throughout my first year in office, I have continued to engage with businesses across Dorset and I have heard their concerns about many of these crimes.
Last year, I spoke with the Chief Executive of Beales, Tony Brown, who explained that he was pleased to see an increase in the number of shoplifting cases being taken to court and the improved speed at which Dorset Police respond to reports of theft. Further to this feedback, I am pleased to report that there was a 16%* drop in burglaries from businesses in 2021/22, compared to the previous year. This reduction is the result of a renewed focus from Dorset Police and is being felt by businesses across Dorset, with the manager of one store, in a hotspot for theft, reporting a reduction in theft from their store of over £239k in the last two years.
However, there is still more to be done. Fighting business crime requires a partnership approach and it is only by working together that a safer environment for businesses in Dorset can be achieved. That’s why I commissioned my office to establish the Dorset Safer Business Partnership (DSBP) a forum allowing Dorset Police, the business community and myself to work together to develop strategies to address business crime. Through this partnership, I am working closely with business leads across Dorset around four key areas. These are crime reporting, engagement and visibility, cyber-crime and fraud, and prevention. A member of the DSBP Gareth Lewis, from Southern Co-op said: “The partnership is a really vital resource in fighting business crime as it brings all the relevant parties together around one table to discuss the things that need to be done. There has a been a lot that has come out of it already, we are in the early stages, but I can see that it is going to make a real difference.”
As part of the DSBP, my office launched a cyber-crime survey aimed at businesses to find out more about how they dealt with cyber-crime. The survey also highlighted areas that required more awareness and how practical support could be given. The responses we received, and the information collected is now being used to shape a future cyber-crime awareness campaign for local businesses.
I mentioned earlier in the piece the issue of violence against shop-workers. This is a real concern, particularly when I think of how many of Dorset’s younger residents work in such positions as their very first job. Violence and abuse towards shop workers is utterly despicable and unacceptable, after all, everyone has the right to feel safe at work. That’s why I am proud to say that I am a #ShopKind Champion and take a supportive role in promoting this joint Home Office and Crime Stoppers campaign that encourages kindness to retail workers. So, I would encourage you all to remember to #ShopKind when you are out and about on our high streets and in our local shops.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
Read Dorset Police's Business Crime Strategy here
*stats taken from Quarter 1 Police and Crime Panel Report.