Small firms call for more police officers to tackle business crime ‘crisis’

Oct 30, 2019

THOUSANDS more police officers are needed to tackle the growing crisis of business crime.

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses has revealed the true extent of crime and its impact on businesses in East Anglia.

More than a quarter of small firms in the region have been the victim of a traditional crime such as theft, criminal damage and assault. Around 18% have been hit by some form of cybercrime including phishing, malware and data theft.

Now the FSB is calling on the government to tackle crime against small businesses as a priority and help to plug the £17 billion that is being lost in the economy every year as a result.

Central to this is the hiring of new police officers which the FSB says is crucial to tackling business crime in England and Wales. Police and Crime Commissioners must also give measures to tackle business crime the priority  it deserves.

18% of small firms have been a victim of cybercrime, says the FSB

FSB data suggests that around 7.7 million crimes are committed against smaller firms each year. Its leader in the East of England, Alan Todd, said: “These figures show the immense pressure that small firms are under on a day to day basis and the hugely damaging effect of business crime on UK productivity. 

“These are uncertain times for all firms and with ever-increasing costs, business crime is a problem that is devastating firms across the country.”

Businesses affected by traditional non-cyber crime in England and Wales have suffered costs of around £14,000 over the previous two years, money that many small firms simply cannot afford to fork out, Mr Todd added.

“Small firms are crying out for help from the government and from the police,” he said. “Of those smaller businesses that experience at least one business crime just over one-fifth did not report an impactful crime to any authorities. 

“The most common reason given for this was a lack of confidence in the police so it is time that the new administration increases the capacity and capability of police forces in England and Wales.”

The FSB wants to see progress being made over the next five years towards recruiting an additional 85,600 police officers to tackle some of the criminal acts that are costing businesses billions every year. The announcement of an additional 20,000 extra police officers is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done, it says.

Mr Todd added: “The availability of more police officers and resources is a critical step in ensuring that crimes are both prevented and subsequently investigated. This sort of action will not only benefit small businesses but the wider economy and the country as a whole.”

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