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Crime 'costs UK SMEs £25M'

New research has drawn attention to the scope and scale of crime carried out against the UK's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as its consequences for the country's economy.

The charity Victim Support interviewed over 500 British business owners to compile the study, learning that more than half (51 per cent) of SMEs have been the target of crime at one time or another.

Collectively, respondents reported costs of around £2,625 per incident - a staggering £25 million in total.

Moreover, Victim Support found that many SMEs are targeted by criminals repeatedly, with the sustained nature of the threat causing them to lose up to 151 days of trading over the lifespan of the business.

Karen Froggatt, the charity's director of service development and standards, urged crime prevention stakeholders to recognise that these incidents "are not victimless".

"[SME] owners and staff often put their life and soul into their work," she argued. "These crimes are taken personally and can have a devastating impact emotionally and financially on victims, just like any other crime."

Gail Hunter, a spokesperson for security supplier ADT, which supported the study, added: “This new research shows the shocking scale and impact that crime can have on small and medium businesses … We advise business owners to take proactive steps to help protect their businesses and livelihoods."

These steps could include the use of professional security services such as manned guarding, particularly as the UK small business community has raised concerns over the effectiveness of the police response to crime against SMEs.

Back in May, the Federation of Small Business (FSB) found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of member firms in the north-west claim burglaries and vandalism on their premises are "often overlooked" by law enforcement.

Just 16 per cent told the FSB that their local forces are allocating sufficient resources to these problems.

Meanwhile, more than a third (35 per cent) of SMEs said that when the police do respond to reports of criminal activity, they fail to do so in a timely fashion - another possible argument for the introduction of more proactive measures for crime prevention.

How much is crime costing your small business? And could you do more with your security budget to prevent it? Read our previous blog, Should your small business invest in manned security, to learn more, or contact us to discuss your specific security needs.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

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