Business Crime




The impact of crime on your business could be potentially devastating.

Trading would almost certainly be disrupted, with orders lost or unfulfilled.

If sensitive customer/supplier information is lost or stolen your reputation could well be destroyed, making it difficult to trade at all.

Without taking sensible precautions your money, stock, equipment, services and reputation are all at risk. 

So who poses a threat to your business? Criminals, of course but also current/former employees, people you do business with and your competitors.

The threat may be simple theft or unauthorised access to IT equipment.

It may be Cyber attacks on your systems, web sites and social media accounts or attacks on information held by third parties; hosted services or financial institutions.



The Risks 


The chances of your business suffering from traditional crime, such as Burglary and Theft, is dependent on a range of factors. If you business has premises that conducts retail sales it is best to contact your local Crime Reduction officer. They will be able to offer advice and highlight potential weak points in your security.

Fraud and on-line crime is indiscriminate and occurs in many different ways, no business is too small to be targeted. Apart from ensuring your on-line security is always up to date, preventing on-line crime is down to education and awareness.


Cost of Business Crime 


Fraud and on-line crime is a growing problem for any business. Recent figures suggest, it had cost the UK economy £27 billion in 2012, with average losses for individual small/medium businesses running at £4,000 a year.  

In 2011-12 retail crime cost the UK economy £1.6 billion, the equivalent of 135,000 full-time entry level jobs with shoplifting accounting for 83% of all crime committed against retailers.  


 Reporting Business Crime


All traditional crime, has historically, been under reported to the Police. In general only 40% of all crime is ever reported, estimates suggest this figure falls to about 15% for business crime.


On-line fraud is not recorded by your local Police force but by “Action Fraud”. This service is run by the National Fraud Authority and works with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by the City of London Police.

Action Fraud has only been in existence for a short period of time and is yet to publish any meaningful figures.


The reporting of quarterly crime figures by the government is based on the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). The CSEW does not cover crimes against businesses nor does it cover on-line crime.







In 2008 the “Federation of Small Businesses” ran a campaign “Report Every Crime, Every Time”. The campaign was to raise awareness amongst the business community, “that unless all incidents of crime are reported the appropriate authorities; will firstly not be aware that there is a problem and secondly not be convinced that it is worth allocating scarce resources to tackling the problems, individual businesses and their staff face“. There appears to be no outcome recorded, on the FSB web site, as to the effectiveness of this campaign, so I assume few people responded. 


The reporting system used by the police does not distinguish between residential/personal crime and business crime, except for shoplifting. Therefore it is difficult to establish whether more business crime is now reported. However, in 2000/01 it was estimated that only 1 in 100 shoplifting offences were reported. In 2012 it is estimated that 4.1 million offences were commited, with 307,652 being reported ie. 7 in 100.

2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) 


The first ever survey into business crime was conducted in 2012. This was a premises based survey focusing on four industry sectors: manufacturing, wholesale/retail, transportation/storage and accommodation/food.

There were 4,017 interviews conducted and 14 crime types covered by the survey. 

The survey is extremely limited and only considered the most recent crime committed against each business. It should therefore not be considered to be representative of crime against businesses as a whole.



The complete survey can be found here.






Key Facts

In incidents of burglary with entry, the most commonly reported way that the building was accessed was through a wooden or glass door (36%), or a metal door, roller door or shutter (17%).

Goods or stock were the items most commonly reported stolen in burglary incidents (37%).

The most common form of vandalism experienced was damage to any part of the premises, buildings, experienced by almost two-thirds (64%) of vandalism victims.

Of those premises that had experienced robbery (including attempts), almost all (91%) said that the most recent incident took place at their premises. The most common items stolen were goods and stock (38%); however, in 35% of cases, the robbery was not successful so nothing was stolen.

Amongst those premises whose employees had been victims of assaults or threats, the most

common type were threats by a customer (80%). Employees were physically injured in 12% of cases of assault or threat.

Goods or stock were stolen in 88% of the most recent incidents of theft by customers, largely driven by the wholesale and retail sector where almost all (94%) incidents involved the theft of goods or stock.

The type of fraud experienced varied depending on who the perpetrator was. Credit, debit or store card fraud  made up half of fraud by persons unknown and one-third  of fraud by others. However, withheld or skimmed takings and fraudulent accounting each made up around a third of incidents of fraud by employees (34% and 30% respectively).

Prevention Advice 


The majority of crime is opportunistic, crime prevention advice is aimed at reducing these opportunities. It is pre-emptive advice, which if put into practice, increases the effort and the risks involved in carrying out an offence and decreases the rewards if an offence is committed. 

There is comparatively very little advice aimed at businesses, all of the 43 Police forces offer advice for preventing domestic crime but few have information on business crime prevention. However, some advice is equally relevant to both and can already be found on this site and elsewhere. 



The following pages provide information on crimes directed at businesses and provide links to information to help safeguard your business from it's effects. The site will introduce different topics in the course of it's development and we will advise when new items are published to our Twitter followers.




Topics in Business Crime Section

Protecting your Information



Securing your home office/business premises 

Computer Equipment

Protecting your offfice and mobile devices

Data Security

Protection against Cyber threats

Data Protection Act

Information and self assessment