Prevention is always better than cure…

According to the British Chambers of Commerce’s Business Crime Survey, losses from such criminality in 2007 stood at a whopping £12.6 billion, up 20% in just three years. “Why are we not doing more to prevent it?”

The Business Crime Survey 2008 produced by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) offers some very interesting comments and statistics, many of which are echoed by the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) own Retail Crime Survey, published annually in October.

Although the latter solely considers retail crime, many of the same themes emerge: lack of confidence in police response, no business crime strategy or focus from the police service or Government, significant levels of under-reporting, crime having a detrimental effect on staff retention and recruitment and costing businesses – no matter which sector, location or size – serious money and inconvenience.

There are, as they say, ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’. We’re always very cynical about surveys and polls that tell us what people are thinking, but in the case of the BCC study we ought to take some time out to read the detail, even if the Executive Summary is (probably) only telling us what we already know, or at least suspected. With 27 pages of facts and figures and a clear methodology, it certainly paints a most compelling picture of business crime.

Consumers count the cost

The BCC survey calculates business crime losses to be £12.6 billion for 2007 – a rise of 20% from the £10.5 billion recorded in 2004. A huge sum that cannot be absorbed by business, and so has to be passed on to the consumer by way of either increased costs or reduced levels of service.

The survey has calculated that, for businesses with up to nine members of staff, the mean loss from crime was £3,900. That figure rises for businesses with 250+ staff to £101,600. Average loss is £12,200 per annum.

Of course, these are losses relating only to crime. Other shrinkage losses resulting from damage, waste or poor administration are on top, and can easily add up to an annual loss of 2%+ of total turnover.

It’s reported that business crime also has a negative impact on inward investment, staff retention and recruitment. We all know how difficult and expensive it is to recruit, train and retain quality staff. How many businesses can consider their Human Resources budget in the context of increased levels of local crime?

(Source info4security.com by Jim Gibson)

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