How much does crime cost your business?

Let’s think about what’s included in that calculation. Stock loss, the products have value so this is easy to measure if it is reported accurately, the cost of my stock loss is £x. In addition to that we have the human cost, colleagues leaving for alternative employment due to antisocial, threatening and even violence against shop workers. The cost of recruitment, training, the reputational costs, the costs of absenteeism, litigation. We also have the costs of preventing crime, security guarding, store detectives, CCTV Systems, Smart water, Smoke, keyholding costs, I could literally go on all day listing the necessary but significant costs involved. But how often and how much do we consider the costs of actually reporting the crime?

For years we have followed the same processes, albeit with incremental improvements and innovation, in my view, sticking to what we know can’t solve an age old problem. The government have committed to 20,000 more Police officers, the recruitment drive is underway, do we really think this additional resource will be used to solve business crime? Even if more resources are pointed towards business crime, with models like THRIVE it is ever more unlikely that those crimes will be investigated.

To compound the problem, businesses tend to work in silos, even many well intentioned businesses who work collaboratively on the surface, in reality work alone. It’s no wonder business crime risk is accelerating.

Let’s be honest, it’s expensive protecting against business crime, let’s take a simple theft; Your store manager identifies a gap on the shelf and reviews the CCTV, sure enough a theft has taken place. Next the manager leaves the shop floor and enters the manager’s office where they log onto the store computer. They access your internal crime reporting software where they select the appropriate form. The store manager completes the form and submits it internally. This store is in a Town Centre and happens to be a member of the local business crime reduction  partnership. The store manager accesses the crime partnership local software and duplicates the report (if they bother at all). After this the store manager calls 101 in order to report the crime into Police, the colleague already knows they are unlikely to get a meaningful response. In addition to this there may be a requirement to record the incident again for civil recovery. So in this scenario we have keyed a minimum of three to four times. Triple keying! What’s the cost?

Lets look at Shop A as the example (not a real retailer). Shop A only suffers from theft, their store managers cost the business £15 per hour and all of Shop A’s stores are members of a BCRP. The average time to report a theft internally is 10 minutes, the average time to report to Police using 101 is 20 minutes, the average time to report into the BCRP is 10 minutes.

In total the store manager spends 40 minutes per crime just reporting. Shop A record 20,000 thefts per annum across their estate last year, so the time spent reporting crime is 13,333 hours, which is time that should be spend serving customers on the shop floor! The productivity cost of reporting crime at Shop A is £199,995. This productivity cost to the business increases significantly based on store colleague pay rate, size of organisation and real reporting times which can be significantly higher than the times used in this example. I also appreciate that this formula is dependent on all crimes actually being reported which in most current examples is not the case. So here we can clearly see there is room for improvement. We must think differently, move away from the norm and innovate.

So what can we do? We can enable a process where your store reports the incident only once into your existing software platform, this means it is completely unnecessary for your business to change its existing structure or process. We call this ‘one touch reporting’ and are currently running trials in Sussex, working with Sussex Police, Co-op Group and Zinc Digital (iNTEL ONE) our software partner.

If this trial is successful I believe it will be of strategic national importance and may perhaps bring the most transformative changes to business crime processes in the last 10 years. If we can make this work then I see an industry that reports only once, and after that single report has been made it is automatically triaged and pushed into NBCS, Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (if appropriate) and importantly directly into Police systems. Success will lead to a dramatic reduction in the cost of reporting crime and the quality of reports into Police will improve leading to more positive outcomes. Police will finally have the opportunity to realise the true volume of business crime but will benefit from significant reductions in crime processing costs.

We will keep you updated on our progress, our intention is, in time, to roll this out on a National basis across all forces and offer this reporting mechanism to all businesses.

Food for thought and watch this space.

There have been a number of successes attributed to this trial which can be found here


For more information about the Ground-breaking trial with Sussex Police and Co-op click here

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