Mayor announces London’s first strategy to tackle business crime
• England's first Business Crime Resilience Centre to protect SMEs from fraud
• Mayor of London to convene an annual Business Crime Summit
• First-ever London Business Attitudes Survey will provide robust indicator of business confidence
• New specialist unit run by City of London Police will support victims of fraud
The Mayor of London has announced a series of new measures to combat business crime, including the growing problems of fraud and cyber-crime, whilst driving up confidence from businesses to report crime.
The capital's first ever business crime strategy – and the first of its kind in the UK - published today sets out the key challenges facing the capital in its fight against business crime including: a lack of business confidence in the policing response to reported crime; cyber-fraud as an area of increasing vulnerability for businesses big and small whilst the police response has not been good enough; significant opportunities for greater collaboration between police and businesses; and a lack of take up of effective protective security and prevention advice.
It highlights the growing and significant impact of fraud including cyber-fraud which has been estimated in 2013 as costing £52 billion to the UK economy.
The strategy sets out how recorded business crime levels in London are significantly under-reported with high street retailers in particular often choosing to solve crimes themselves or take no further action.
A British Retail Consortium survey found in 2013 found that a third of respondents indicated that the most significant reason for preventing them from reporting crime was because they had no confidence in the police response, whilst of the 81,631 frauds reported by London business in 2013/2014 through CIFAS (a fraud prevention service for UK businesses), just 0.1 per cent had a successful judicial outcome.
The Mayor is calling for law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to work more closely with businesses, local authorities and other relevant organisations to deliver plans and recommendations contained in the report.
The strategy is actively supported by the MPS, the National Crime Agency and City of London Police.
To help tackle business crime - which includes theft and handling, criminal damage, burglary, violence against the person and robbery - the strategy outlines a series of new measures, including:
• A new Business Resilience Centre - learning from a successful model in Scotland, England's first Business Resilience Centre to launch in January 2015 will help smaller businesses protect their assets using crime prevention advice, business-to-business alerts and through the creation of cyber-security standards – the report shows that smaller businesses can be vulnerable to crime with fewer preventative resources to deploy and recognise that 80 per cent of fraud is preventable if the right protective security advice is followed;
• Mayor of London will convene an annual London Business Crime Summit to track progress and share best practice supported by a quarterly panel of senior police officers and businesses chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime;
• In a first of its kind, a London Business Attitudes Survey will provide robust indicator of business confidence this will survey 6000 London businesses from the smallest traders to high retailers and the largest corporations;
• New economic crime unit run by City of London Police to better support businesses and individuals targeted by fraudsters;
• Introduction of further Business Crime Reduction Partnerships - using data on business crime hotspots, MOPAC and the MPS will support the establishment of public-private partnerships to tackle business crime in the top ten hot spots of recorded activity;
• Predictive crime mapping to assess future business crime hotspots;
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Feeling safe is a key factor in London’s success as a global powerhouse. Businesses choose the capital for its low crime rate and thrive under its rule of law. But we know that business crime can be under-reported whilst criminals are becoming more sophisticated. The capital’s first ever strategy is set to ensure law enforcement and other agencies are a step ahead, working hand in hand with businesses to reduce the impact and cost of crime against them, their staff and the communities they trade in. The goal is to ensure London is the safest city in the world to do business.’
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey, MPS lead for Business Crime, said: ‘Vibrant, prosperous and well managed businesses are the lifeblood of the city and we want them to operate freely from the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. I am proud that London is the first city in the country to have a business crime strategy which unites partners within law enforcement, criminal justice and the business community in the fight against crime.
‘The strategy reinforces the Met’s commitment to tackling business crime and the work we have already undertaken in the last 18 months, such as establishing a Business Crime Hub to provide specialist crime prevention advice and introducing Business Crime Reduction Partnerships across London. We recognise the real willingness of London’s businesses to work with us to make London a safer place. The Business Crime Strategy will further galvanise partnership activity to reduce crime and put criminals on the back foot.’
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: ‘We have to do more to tackle business crime if London is to continue to grow and thrive. Over 60 organisations have helped to shape London’s first ever strategy to give this Cinderella crime the priority it deserves. There is a renewed commitment from the Met Police to increase their enforcement capacity, but we also need a clearer picture of the problem and for businesses themselves to step forward and share intelligence about crime and work with the police to prevent them from becoming victims in the first place. Businesses operating in London need to know that crimes against them are taken seriously by the police and they will get a decent response.’