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New research tells us half of small businesses are affected by crime

At the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), we are calling on the Government to tackle crime against small businesses as a priority and help to plug the billions that are being lost in the economy every year as a result.

As part of new research by FSB, it’s been found that, in the previous two years, almost half of small firms in England and Wales have been the victim of crime, which equates to around 2.5m smaller businesses. 

The sheer number of incidents of business crime against smaller firms each year is staggering.  FSB data suggests there are around 7.7 million crimes committed against smaller firms each year.  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, and all this in an already difficult economic climate.

Our members have told us that of the crimes experienced, just over one fifth of crimes were not reported to any authorities, and so the impact on their business does not get picked up.  The reason for not reporting crime is stated by members to be a lack of confidence that any action will be taken by police, due to stretched resources.

In Dorset we are working with Dorset Police and Dorset Police Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill to reach out to small businesses affected by crime.  A conference planned for late 2019 will provide an opportunity for small business owners to talk directly to senior representatives from Dorset Police and Dorset OPCC about the issues they face around crime.

We know that on average, businesses affected by traditional (non-cyber) crime in England and Wales have suffered costs of around £14,000 over the previous two years. This is money that many small firms simply cannot afford to fork out.

In a data driven world, the threat from cyber related crime is a very real and constant menace to small businesses.  As a result the FSB has teamed up with the Information Commissioner’s Office and Worldpay to offer a masterclass taking place on October 9  at Exeter Science Park.  The event titled ‘Taking Care of Business’ is aimed at keeping you, your customers and your business safe and anyone interested can book at https://tinyurl.com/y4y4qb7g.

We would also like to see the Government swiftly complete its recently announced plan to ensure  additional funding to the police and start recruiting those vital extra  police officers to help with this issue . This should just be the first step towards increasing the average number of police officers in England and Wales closer to 352 per 100,000 of the population (the European average).

The availability of more police officers and resources is a critical step in ensuring that crimes (including those against business) are both prevented and subsequently investigated.  We believe this sort of action will not only benefit small businesses but the wider economy and the country as a whole.

Andrew Davis is the FSB Area Lead for Dorset