PCC pledges to tackle business crime in Sussex
Today (February 7) PCC Katy Bourne convened a meeting to address crime concerns of local businesses. She brought together senior members of Sussex Police, business crime experts, representatives from Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op with representatives of smaller local stores.
They now form the new ‘Safer Sussex Business Partnership’ and signed a pledge today to work together to find more sustainable ways to tackle business crime and make retail workers feel safe and supported.
From 1st January to 31st December 2019 there were 19,835 reports of business crime made to Sussex Police, an increase of 5% (1060 reports) over the previous year. Theft, criminal damage, burglary and violent crime were amongst the top reports.
However, from speaking extensively to local business owners and larger retailers Mrs Bourne heard that it is still a vastly under-reported crime that is having huge impacts on its victims and wider community.
In today’s meeting it was revealed that local stores in Sussex are losing on average £100k-£150k per year from shoplifting, 2% of their annual revenue. Staff are left feeling helpless when they see crimes take place and are struggling to find the time to record and report due to the volume of incidents.
Danny Malloy representing Tesco in the South East said: “We know that only a small proportion of crimes in our stores are reported to the police. We must work with our colleagues to make it easier for them to report. At the moment people are shoplifting with no fear of reprimand; we can now work in collaboration to change this attitude.”
Mrs Bourne commented on the importance of bringing partners together: “Businesses and the economic wellbeing of an area are an integral part of community cohesion so, it is only right that we work together to make Sussex a place where people want to trade.
“Today we have developed even stronger links between Sussex Police and businesses within our communities as we strive to cut crime and recognise the impact on them and the wider community.
“We have discussed better ways of sharing vital community intelligence about this crime type which can then be shared with others to stop repeat offences but also help us to catch those responsible.
“The partnership also means we can make best use of each other’s expertise and give advice on measures to prevent people from becoming a victim of business crime.”
Business Crime Lead for Sussex Police, Chris Neilson comments: “There is a lot more that businesses can and want to do to contribute to the safety of Sussex and this group provides an excellent opportunity to achieve this.
“I want to encourage our local businesses to report all crimes against them so we can build an accurate picture for Sussex.
“I will be working to develop a clear understanding within the Force of different types of business crime and ensuring they are accurately recorded and flagged in our systems.
“The increased numbers of PCSOs in local communities will also mean that business owners will now have an important community link with Sussex Police so they can share vital intelligence between them.”
Another meeting of the Safer Sussex Business Partnership will be convened in the summer to report on the progress of actions proposed today.