Last month BOSS was able to report that crime on Britain’s retail forecourts fell by 12.2% during the final quarter of 2017. Despite this success, crime on forecourts remains at an unacceptable level.

BOSS is already returning £1m a year to forecourt retailers and this figure is likely to rise as we introduce our drive-off recovery initiative in association with more police forces and retailers across the country.

The BOSS drive-off trial involved us pro-actively pursuing registered keepers of vehicles reported as driving off without paying for fuel.

This new debt recovery strategy found that almost 80% of incidents were subsequently fully paid for by the motorist, and so avoided involving the police.

These initiatives are a clear demonstration that the industry is taking responsibility to deal with the twin problem of drive-off and no means of payment (NMoP) incidents.

It is incumbent on forecourt retailers to take all necessary steps to collect what is due to them, but where a criminal deliberately seeks to evade payment then we expect the police and Crown Prosecution Service to take appropriate action, especially against persistent offenders.

There is no doubt that the era of austerity has had a significant impact on the ability of individual police forces to respond to all crime. Sadly, this has resulted in some crime now being considered less important and hard-pressed police forces have consciously backed away from incidents that they consider to be a civil matter.

With two-thirds of drive-off reports being recorded as failure to pay in-store, it is becoming apparent that more forces are starting to treat some drive-off reports as civil incidents and not a criminal offence. Therefore, it is important that retailers should remain vigilant and take responsibility to ensure that staff are fully trained so that when incidents occur, the correct evidence is collected and retained.

BOSS continues to put multiple offenders before the courts and our most recent success has led to £725 of compensation being awarded. The fight against forecourt crime continues...