During the FIFA World Cup there were a number of countries who started the competition with low expectations. However, some quiet, careful and thoughtful planning helped them to achieve and make their nations very proud of their performances. The forecourt sector can draw similarities, in particular, when it comes to dealing with crime on our forecourts.

We know that on average drive-offs and no means of payment (NMoP) cost a forecourt more than £3,000 a year. In total, both cost the sector over £30m. But new research from our analysts is beginning to show that a carefully designed scheme can have a significant part to play in preventing crime. The latest BOSS research demonstrates that by adopting robust, but customer friendly procedures to tackle forecourt crime, retailers can recover significant amounts of money. The BOSS survey reveals that more than 80% of motorists return to pay their NMoP debt within seven days. These payments are worth a staggering £8m in additional annual revenue for retailers.

Prevention is by far the best way to stop crime and the BOSS Payment Watch initiative has been carefully designed to persuade motorists to return and pay, if they don’t, BOSS then begins debt recovery procedures. Analysis has revealed that where Payment Watch schemes operate, a number of motorists claiming to have no means to pay, surprisingly, discover that they have funds to do so.

When motorists do not return to pay, BOSS will pursue them and take steps to recover the debt. During the past 12 months BOSS has recovered and returned £1m direct to retailers. But we have also taken the ultimate sanction, by working with the police and the CPS, we’ve brought offenders before the courts and custodial sentences, community service orders and compensation awards are now common place.

Rising fuel prices make taking a tank of fuel an attractive option for some. But putting in place a customer friendly procedure, which helps ordinary customers in a tricky situation, will reap rewards as well as discouraging repeat and potential offenders.