SME crimewave goes unreported

More than half of all small firms in the UK fall victim to crime every year, but the majority of these incidents are never reported to the police.

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses reveals 58% of SMEs are hit by a variety of crimes, but less than half are reported as small business owners believe the police ‘would not be able to find the criminals’.

‘There is a perception amongst business owners that the UK is experiencing a crime epidemic and that no-one cares,’ comments David Croucher, FSB Crime Spokesman. ‘Sentences are lower for commercial burglaries than domestic burglaries, and criminal damage and theft from commercial premises have effectively been de-criminalised.

‘Businesses can help themselves by reporting crime so that the police can build up a more accurate picture, he concludes. ‘But ultimately ministers must recognise that crime has a devastating impact on small firms generating fear in the workplace, alienating customers, and resulting in a negative knock-on affect in the wider community.’

The FSB is calling for:

  • The police to record business crime as a distinct category from domestic crime
  • Crime against business to be made a Key Performance Indicator by the Home Office
  • Businesses to report all crimes to the police
  • A commitment to tackling business crime by the entire criminal justice system. A prison sentence is not suitable for all offences, but the punishment must fit the crime if the judicial system is to retain business confidence
  • Sentencing guidelines to be revised to ensure that all crimes of a similar nature are treated equally
  • Business owners to be more proactive in securing their assets
  • Planning regulations relating to crime prevention measures to be relaxed to allow businesses to protect their premises
  • A business crime compensation scheme to be established to prevent otherwise viable businesses closing down
  • Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships to focus on business crime.

The FSB report ‘Cracking Business Crime’ is available to download from

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