BOSS Executive Director
Last year there were press reports that crimes involving a loss of under £50 would not be investigated by the police unless a suspect is already identified, and that CCTV should only be analysed for crimes committed in a 20-minute time frame.
Well, this is nothing new to forecourt retailers who have seen different forces treat forecourt crime in different ways. At BOSS we understand that every police force must prioritise their resources to be able to cope with demand. But that’s no comfort to forecourt retailers who are experiencing a boom in crime, which now costs each forecourt retailer, on average, more than £1,000 every year, as shown by the most recent BOSS Forecourt Crime Index.
BOSS fully appreciates that police forces are under considerable pressure but, by taking a proactive approach we know that there are greater opportunities to reduce retailer losses, increase recovery and bring persistent offenders before the courts.
What’s exciting about the new BOSS drive-off recovery initiative is that it’s the industry taking control of reporting and recovering losses. During last year’s trial only 5% of incidents had to be reported to the police, which saved the police a huge amount of time. We’re planning to make the new BOSS initiative available to more members and police forces across the country so that both can benefit. However, what is also worrying is that we have found two-thirds of drive-off incidents are not vehicles driving off from the pump, but customers failing to pay for their fuel once they enter the store.
There are many reasons why drivers fail to pay for fuel, either a genuine mistake or deliberate act, but we’re finding police tend to treat in-store drive-offs as a civil offence and are therefore not treating these incidents as a crime, so take no action.
As the new police approach spreads, it becomes more important for the retail fuel sector to take responsibility to ensure that where incidents do take place, the correct evidence is collected and retained.
During 2018 let’s ensure that, together, we have the right evidence to tackle incidents effectively, successfully recover losses and bring persistent offenders before the courts.