National Lead supports Business Crime Week of Action
APCC Business Crime Lead and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, is lending her support to the National Business Crime Week of Action.
The week, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, runs from 17-24 October and sees police forces, retailers and private security staff across the country work in partnership to deliver a visible, targeted and robust response to retail crime.
Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Before I entered politics, I ran a successful business so I understand what it’s like to manage risk, work to tight margins and the need to keep your staff and business safe.
“We know that 38% of businesses in the wholesale and retail sectors in England and Wales are victims of crime. It is imperative that police, local partners and businesses work together to protect and preserve our high streets, town centres and villages and ensure they are safe and welcoming places to visit, shop and work in.
“Figures from the latest Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report tell us that 89% of colleagues working in convenience stores have faced abuse in their job - this just isn’t acceptable. Shop workers should not have to tolerate abuse and business owners should not have to normalise the loss of stock due to shoplifting.
“Earlier this year, following pressure from retailers and support from PCCs, new legislation came into force in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act classifying common assault against anyone working in a retail environment as an aggravated offence, which carries tougher penalties.
“My Safer Sussex Business Partnership agreed that we needed better data and intelligence sharing and improved and swifter reporting mechanisms as well as a co-ordinated police response. Through various initiatives - including the launch of an information sharing app for businesses and rural communities - Sussex Police were able to target the 20% of offenders committing 80% of offences resulting in successful arrests and charges.
“Educating offenders about the impact of their crimes is also important. In Sussex, we have established three programmes to work with first-time and serial offenders, providing the chance for many to give something back and demonstrating to them the harmful impact of their crimes which may seem low-cost but are definitely not low-level.
“When speaking about business crime, we also need to recognise businesses away from the high street. Tools are a tradesperson's livelihood and, without them, they cannot perform their job. I was delighted to be able to support the National Business Crime Centre last month as they partnered with Williams Trade Plumbing Supplies to hold a number of tool marking pilot events across the country.
“They provided property marking kits, each of which can mark up to 50 tools. Through this system, a tradesperson’s items will be registered on a property database, making them easy to identify and hopefully to return to their rightful owner if they are stolen.
“It is gratifying that 93% of my PCC colleagues’ Police & Crime Plans across the country now feature business crime as a priority, meaning that Chief Constables must have due regard to these crimes. Business partnerships with police forces are also being established by PCCs to reduce losses from shoplifting, robbery and fraud, to take high harm and persistent offenders off the streets, and to protect shopworkers from abuse and intimidation.”