A quarter of crimes against businesses go unreported

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of small firms don’t report crimes against their business, new figures have revealed.

Research from the Federation of Small businesses (FSB) has found that 38 per cent of companies wouldn’t report a crime against their business because they didn’t think it would lead to a successful prosecution. Almost half (46 per cent) said they wouldn’t report a crime because they feel it wouldn’t achieve anything positive – a figure that has remained unchanged for six years.

The FSB said these figures call into question the accuracy of current government crime statistics.

It also claimed that the numbers reflect an ongoing lack of confidence in the authority’s ability to address business crime, despite the launch of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) in 2012.

Mike Cherry, national chairman at FSB, said: “While the new definition of ‘business crime’ adopted by the police in April 2015 is a real step forward, there is still a long way to go in understanding and addressing the true extent of the problem. Crime affects all businesses, but it impacts smaller firms the hardest, as they cannot absorb the unexpected costs. The fact that businesses are not reporting crimes shows a real breakdown in trust and confidence in the police.”

Other reasons given for not reporting a crime included the belief that police wouldn’t be able to find the criminals or achieve a successful prosecution (38 per cent), and that reporting a crime was too time-consuming (26 per cent).

FSB research also found that a third of small businesses believed crime was increasing in their area. This is despite the Government’s Commercial Victimisation Survey claiming that business crime was decreasing.

Of those surveyed, two-thirds said they had been a victim of cyber-crime in the past two years, just under half (48 per cent) had been a victim of non-cyber crime, and 53 per cent had fallen victim to both.

Businesses have been making an effort to improve their security with 41 per cent saying they had installed or upgraded a security system, a 25 per cent increase since 2010.

To combat cyber-crime, more than three-quarters (80 per cent) have installed computer security software, with only three per cent reporting having no cyber-security in place.

Mr Cherry added: “With the average cost of crime to a business now at £5,898, and instances of cyber-crime on the rise, there is a real necessity to get a handle on this. FSB members call on candidates for PCCs standing in elections across England in May to make combating business crime a central theme in their long-term plans. We are issuing our PCC manifesto today, in the hope we can forge a better relationship between police and businesses once and for all.”