More than two-thirds of small businesses have been a victim of crime over the past 12 months, costing them up to £3,000, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The research shows 64% of small firms have had a crime against their businesses in the past year, costing each £2,900 on average. However, more than a third (39%) do not report such crimes, with nearly half (46%) saying they didn't think it would achieve anything. A third (24%) thought the police would not be able to succeed in prosecution and a quarter said they thought the police would not be interested.
FSB policy chairman Mike Cherry said: "It is paramount that the Government sets out the right local agenda to protect these vital firms that are currently losing up to £3,000 a year to crime. We cannot watch small businesses being repeatedly victimised and as a result forced to close. Businesses need to be encouraged to report crime as soon as it happens."
The FSB is calling for effective action to be taken to improve the response to businesses affected by crime, such as including crimes against business in all community safety partnerships' annual strategic assessments. It also wants the Government to create a single, national definition for crimes against business to make it simpler for the police to record them.
The Association of Police Authorities' chair Rob Garnham said: "We would encourage any small business to work with their local police authority if they feel they are not getting the policing service they deserve. Police authorities are committed to working to ensure that small businesses are supported and protected from crime at all times."