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08 September 2010

£3,000 a year: the cost of crime against small business

Reference number: PR/2010/45

FSB News Release

PR 2010 45

Issue date: Wednesday 08 2010 

£3,000 a year: the cost of crime against small business 

Over the past 12 months more than two-thirds of small businesses have been a victim of crime costing them up to £3,000, according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

More than two-thirds (64%) of small firms have had a crime against their businesses costing each on average £2,900 and worryingly, more than a third (39%) of small firms do not report such crimes – showing that not much has improved over the past two years.

The report, ‘Localism and tackling crimes against business'', statistically shows some of the reasons why small firms have not been reporting crime: nearly half (46%) said they didn''t think it would achieve anything, a third (34%) thought the police would not be able to succeed in prosecution and a quarter (25%) said they thought the police just would not be interested.

With small firms having such little confidence in the police and justice system, the FSB is calling for effective action to be taken to improve the response to businesses affected by crime and prevent small businesses from being repeatedly attacked and in some cases forced to close.

The Government, local authorities and police must engage with the business community to address crimes targeted towards businesses by introducing measures, such as:

• Including crimes against business in all Community Safety Partnerships Annual Strategic Assessments

• Continuing to engage Neighbourhood Policing Teams with businesses beyond obvious retail premises on the High Street

• Creating a single, national definition for crimes against business to make it simpler for the police to record crime

Mike Cherry, Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"Small businesses are the heart of our local communities, and a crime against a small firm is not just an attack against that business but it affects staff and has repercussions on the wider community. With two-thirds of businesses still a victim of crime, the Government needs to step up and engage with this important sector of the community

"It is paramount that the Government sets out the right local agenda to protect these vital firms that are currently losing up to £3,000 a year to crime. We cannot watch small businesses being repeatedly victimised and as a result forced to close. Businesses need to be encouraged to report crime as soon as it happens."

Rob Garnham, Chair of the Association of Police Authorities, said: 

"Crimes against small businesses hit hard.  The negative impact on local communities across the country should not be underestimated.  Many small businesses are run by members of the local community so it is important that those communities and small businesses themselves have confidence that the police are willing to act when crimes are reported. 

"We would encourage any small business to work with their local police authority if they feel they are not getting the policing service they deserve. Police authorities are committed to working to ensure that small businesses are supported and protected

from crime at all times."