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Crime Against Business

The Issue

Crime against small firms costs more than £12 billion annually. Further, it undermines trust and honesty in commercial activity. Consequently, crime is a significant drag on the ability of smaller enterprises to invest and grow and as such is a big barrier to business success.

Business crime directly affects between a quarter and a third of UK businesses annually. With many being victims of crime multiple times. The consequences of being a victim of crime can be significant. FSB data found that the average cost of cyber crime to a victim business is approximately £1,500 a year. While the cost of other kinds (i.e. traditional) of crime is nearly £3,000 per victim business per year. These figures do not account for the full cost of crime to a small business however, as they do not factor in in-direct negative impacts such as reputational damage that can follow the perpetration of a crime, the lost hours and days and cancelled or delayed business plans that often follow from being subject to a criminal act.

Action FSB has taken

  • We’ve successfully lobbied the Government to ensure police forces record business crime separately to other crimes.
  • We’re calling for more resources to be allocated to law enforcement to help them build up their capacity and capability and deal more effectively with business crime.
  • We’ve argued for more business input into the local policing strategies of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and the national strategy of the National Crime Agency, with specific strategies for dealing with crime against small businesses.
  • We’ve urged Action Fraud to significantly improve its performance to help tackle the growing levels of fraud against businesses.
  • We urge all members to report the crimes that affect them and get involved with Business Crime Partnerships and take appropriate security measures to ensure they’re reducing their vulnerability to crime.

Our Goal

We want crime against smaller enterprises to be reduced substantially. This will necessarily be a result of a combination of factors, which include:

  • Small businesses implementing better security measures to protect themselves.
  • A more robust police and prosecutorial response to crime against smaller firms, with such crimes given a higher priority than currently, recognising it has a serious impact on individuals, communities and the economy both locally and nationally.
  • Law enforcement being provided with the right tools and other resources so that they have the capacity and capability to deal with the current scale of crime against smaller businesses.


Achievements in...



  • We continue to engage with Ministers and Government officials, constabularies, the National Business Crime Centre and the National Crime Agency to ensure business crime is made more of priority.

  • We have successfully campaigned for police forces in England and Wales to specifically record where a crime is against a business. The National Police Chiefs Council (with Home Office support) developed and rolled-out a definition of ‘business crime’, which most police forces are now using for the recording of such crimes. This will help to provide, for the first time, a picture of the scale of business crime in each police force’s area.

  • In 2016 we published a report into cyber crime and smaller firms, which found that around a third of the small business community is a victim of cyber crime each year and that businesses who are subject to a cyber crime are, on average, the victim of two such crimes each year. This report was the first comprehensive report looking solely into the scale, nature and impact of cyber crime on smaller firms and which examined a range of policy reforms that would help reduce the levels of cyber crime victimhood among smaller enterprises in the UK.

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