The National Business Crime Solution – a not-for-profit initiative providing businesses with access to a collaborative partnership that spans the public and private sectors as well as law enforcement agencies – has revealed how it has helped to cut crimes costing retailers £650,000 per month, which equates to over £8 million per annum1.
Supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) realises a central repository where business crime data is submitted, shared and analysed in order to determine key threats, linked crime series and national targets that can be investigated.
Sue Fish, deputy chief constable at Nottinghamshire Police and ACPO’s national lead on business crime, commented: “At the recent British Retail Consortium Retail Crime Conference, it was great to see both national organisations and police forces speaking highly of the pockets of intelligence that have been enhanced thanks to the sharing of information with the NBCS. It’s brilliant to witness the initiative working independently of policing and with a governance structure that provides all businesses with an opportunity to contribute.”
Retail crime cost an estimated £511 million in 2012-20132 and, with a reported rise in organised crime and further cuts to public sector funding expected, businesses are increasingly recognising the benefits of a not-for-profit initiative that works collaboratively with the business community. As a result, over the past six months membership of the NBCS has increased by over 50% and attracted some of the largest names in the retail sector.
Using closer collaboration and an evidence-based approach, the NBCS has supported a number of businesses in reducing their exposure to business crime while at the same time providing a safer environment for customers and staff.
Building a national profile of business crime
Catherine Bowen, policy and stakeholder director at the NBCS, explained: “In just six months we’ve seen significant progress. More importantly, by working in collaboration we’ve proven that we can build a national profile of business crime and actively support the police service by building watertight, cross-border cases that result in real action.”
Bowen continued: “By working with law enforcement officials we can not only ensure that cross-border, serious and organised criminals are pursued but, by working with police analysts, we can also advise businesses on criminal trends and any particular ‘hot spots’ for increased illicit activities.”
In the first half of 2014, the NBCS – ably supported by the National Business Crime Intelligence Bureau (NBCIB) – dealt with over 70 investigations exposing cross-border, serious and organised criminal groups. The body has also provided support to more than 40 national businesses across 33 police force areas resulting in 29 arrests.
Notable successes over the past six months included the NBCS working with one member business alongside cross-border authorities to halt a series of high value thefts valued at over £9,000. In just nine days, 32 recorded offences were committed across a number of force areas. By sharing information and working together, the NBCS quickly established the full nature and scale of the criminal gang’s activities, in turn leading to timely arrests and a subsequent end to the high-value crime spree.
Another NBCS member business suffered 11 burglaries in just two months costing the company over £22,000 in lost goods, repairs and lost trade. By working with the NBCS, a pattern of incidents was established proving they were linked and not isolated. As a result of this information being passed to the police and assisting with further case development, the authorities were able to step in and make a successful arrest.
Retailers alerted to crime trends
“Sharing information across the business sector has ensured that retailers are alerted to rising crime trends, enabling them to take preventative action,” added Bowen. “This has also meant that where there are organised crime groups in operation, information is collated and shared with the police to bring criminal activities to a timely end.”
The timing for the NBCS has never been better with major cuts to public sector funding and a greater recognition of the important role businesses can play in cutting crime leading to an increased appetite for data sharing.
“Business crime may have made it back onto the agenda,” asserted Bowen, “but the challenge now is how we keep it there. In order to continue the progress we’ve made so far, we need businesses to join us, share their data and be part of this fast-growing collaborative approach to preventing business crime.”
*The NBCS was recently awarded top spot in the Best Collaborative Solution category at the 2014 Retail Fraud Awards
*Further information on the NBCS is available by contacting Catherine Bowen via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1Value of crimes prevented as recorded by a selected number of members. Full potential of savings is significantly higher than the figure quoted
2British Retail Consortium’s Annual Retail Crime Survey 2014