Business crime and confidence

MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


My report "High Street Blues" found that, of the random sample of shop owners I spoke to, 94% had been a victim of crime more than once, and of these, 47% had suffered a serious crime such as burglary and violence. However the majority would not bother to report a crime to the police. What will you do to encourage shop owners to report crime?


Answer for Business crime and confidence

Answer for Business crime and confidence

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes, Roger, thank you very much for the work you are doing in this area on business crime.  Obviously, it is a concern if what you say is correct and businesses are not reporting crime, although clearly it is some consolation that reported levels of crime are coming down.  If businesses are experiencing crime that they are not reporting, then they need to report it.


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  One of the features of business crime we encountered when we did our survey was that quite a lot of small retail businesses owned by people from black and ethnic minorities in inner London see themselves as virtually under siege because they are victims of shoplifting and other crimes and they do not always report them.  Would you consider our recommendation of designating a special point of contact for areas where there are a lot of BME businesses who may be suffering from that sort of crime?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry, what sort of point of contact?  What do you mean?


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  This would be an officer who is actually a point of contact for the force.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  To try to tackle business crime in particular?


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  Yes.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  That is the kind of suggestion that certainly should be taken up within the Local Policing Model.  The obvious people to be in charge of that would be the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  You have also stated in the MOPAC strategy that you are going to conduct a pan‑London business attitude survey.  Clearly, the strategy recognises that business crime is important.  It is one of the key issues you intend to address.  Could you just tell us how often you are going to be conducting that survey and what you will do with the material that comes from it?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The survey will be conducted at a decent interval in order for us to frame it with relevance.  I cannot give you the exact frequency with which we are going to do it, no.  Clearly, you are worried that businesses are not reporting crime.  So am I, if that is correct.  You did a big survey of businesses.  You rang a load of businesses.  You said, “Have you had crime?”  They said, “Yes”.  You said, “Have you reported it?”  They said, “No”.  We need to dig into that and find out why they are not reporting it.  If it is stuff like shoplifting or assaults on staff that are not being reported, it needs to be reported.


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  Would you agree that if we take a strong line on things like shoplifting and thefts from businesses ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We should take a strong line.


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  ‑‑ it will make it very clear that it is unacceptable and maybe, if we ‑ God forbid ‑ find ourselves facing another riot situation like the one in 2011, people will not so casually indulge in taking things from businesses because they will know it is wrong?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is right.  If people become habituated to business crime and to shoplifting, obviously the psychological threshold they have to clear in order to do something worse is lower and we need to be very tough on it.


Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  Thank you.


Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you.