POLICE forces should do more to tackle crime against business, it was claimed.
The Aspley-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said senior police offices should work more closely with business organisations and forces should have dedicated “business crime advisers” as part of efforts to deal with the problem.
The call comes after the British Chambers of Commerce unveiled figures showing that crime is now costing UK companies £12.6bn a year. The BCC said the figure equated to a sixth of all crimes committed in the UK.
The business group has written to the Government calling for more action to tackle offences against firms, including making the police record all business crime.
Industry leaders said there was a “worrying” lack of confidence in the police among businessmen and women.
A survey of 3,900 businesses for the BCC found that almost two out of three had been the victim of crime in the past year.
Four out of five said business crime was a problem in their local area while one in four complained of damage to their vehicles.
One in five had been hit by vandalism and graffiti and a similar proportion had been burgled.
The worst crime rates were on industrial estates, shopping parades and out-of-town sites.
More than two out of three businesses said they would not bother reporting small crimes or damage to the police, complaining of a lack of confidence that the issues would be treated seriously.
Steven Leigh, senior policy adviser for the Mid Yorkshire chamber, said: “The chamber network is campaigning for a separate Home Office national statistic, so that business crime can be properly recorded and prevention can be prioritised.
“At present, business crime comes under the category of “other” crime – or the same sort of status as the theft of tools from garden sheds. If these crimes were properly recorded, the police could tackle the problem as a key performance indicator and thus give business crime the high priority it deserves.”
Mr Leigh said the chamber movement wanted police forces to consider having dedicated business crime advisers. It also wanted the Government to consult the business community and chambers of commerce to devise new initiatives to deal with this problem.
“We believe the Government should work with the police, chambers of commerce and others in order to set business free from crime,” said Mr Leigh.
David Frost, director general of the BCC, said: “Businesses are the lifeblood of communities, and crimes against them have a damaging impact on both the economic growth and future prosperity of local areas.
“This survey has laid bare the growing cost of business crime and exposed some fundamental flaws in the way business crime is handled by the police.
“Increasing numbers of businesses are losing confidence in the police’s ability to address their concerns about crime.
“The absence of a national definition for business crime, from which police forces can record instances of criminal activity, is an issue which needs addressing.”