The UK’s National Business Crime Centre had its official launch on 19th October and is gearing up to become the ‘Go to place’ for police forces and the business community as they collaborate to reduce crime.

“Community guarding” by retail employees, flowcharts to guide retailers on whether to detain suspected shoplifters, “Secured by Design” product certification and the “Community Safety Accreditation Scheme” are examples of best practices that the NBCC could help to roll out across the country. Greater consistency in police forces’ requirements for reporting business crime is one of the centre’s main objectives.

The NBCC team will offer free support and guidance on the latest good practices via their web site and liaise with the wider business community at head office level as well as linking in with private security.

Speaking at the launch, the Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey, who is overseeing the new centre, said “the focus of the initiative is absolutely about working in partnership” and enabling police forces and business to “share information in a consistent way that works for businesses”.

The NBCC has said “the necessity for the centre was identified as a result of information from businesses who were finding that police forces were doing things 43 different ways. There was a need to join up the dots between police forces, security initiatives and private sector/business.”

In its mission statement the centre pledges to:

  • Improve partnerships with the business community and raise national police standards
  • Enable businesses to target their resources more efficiently, thereby disrupting organised business criminality at a national level, and
  • Prioritise prevention, enabling businesses to protect themselves from cyber fraud and terrorism by being a conduit of best practice and a centre of excellence supporting all businesses throughout the UK.

The Deputy Commissioner said on Thursday that the NBCC’s priorities are based on consultation with business and include reducing violence, safeguarding, supporting national police teams and disrupting organised business crime in both the public and virtual worlds.

He promised an independent evaluation of the centre and urged businesses to give their feedback. The NBCC will be assessed on whether it achieves:

  • More business confidence in the police
  • Crime prevention in all aspects of business
  • More reports of business crime to the police by business
  • More sanction detections for business crime offences

Mackey praised the “imaginative approaches” taken by Sussex and Hampshire police forces, among others, in their collaboration with the business community.

Sussex police have been working with Sainsburys to improve security by encouraging retail employees to look out for criminal activity in the public spaces they frequent in the course of their work.

Chief Inspector Patrick Holdaway of Hampshire Police told RRN that the force has supplied retailers and other businesses with a flowchart explaining how incidents involving crime suspects are likely to be dealt with based on various criteria – such as whether they are violent, believed to be involved with organised crime gangs, and have a previous history, etc. This helps police to ensure they respond to the more serious incidents while reducing demands on police and businesses’ resources in cases where a suspect is unlikely to face criminal charges.

The NBCC is investigating several ways of reinforcing businesses’ resilience to crime. One approach that could be extended would be giving more powers to accredited members of the public to respond to anti-social behaviour.

Some employees of local councils and train companies, as well as revenue inspectors, have been granted powers under the so-called “Community Safety Accreditation Scheme” (CSAS). This can include, for example, the power to require people to give their identity.

The Deputy Commissioner also singled out the “Secured by Design” initiative, promoted by the London Mayor’s Office, as a good example of a crime reduction initiative taken by the private sector. This has 6oo participant members, whose products have been certified as designed to reduce the risk of crime.

You can visit the National Business Crime Centre website by clicking here.