Police forces across the country are under pressure and forecourt retailers have a responsibility to help the police to use their limited resources effectively.

We know that it’s important for forecourt retailers to do more than just report a crime. Unfortunately, some retailers report issues that are not crimes and unnecessarily add to the police workload, causing frustration. We developed the BOSS Payment Watch scheme to address rising incidents of customers claiming to have No Means of Payment and then failing to return to pay. Payment Watch saves retailers time and effort in chasing No Means of Payment debt and provides a robust procedure for pursuing debts while offering an easy process for drivers to settle their debt.

We do not want the police to be our debt collectors, an accusation I’ve often heard, but we do want them to tackle criminals that operate within our communities and bring them to book. Repeated drive-offs without paying for fuel or regularly claiming to have no means to pay are often the tip of a far larger crime iceberg, and if addressed correctly could help the police uncover more serious criminal behaviour.

West Midlands Police have said that it costs them £250,000 a year to handle drive-offs and minor crime at service stations. I’m sure there are similar costs faced by other forces and that all police forces want to reduce the cost of tackling crime and they are keen to work smarter and at less cost.

Forecourt retailers have to take more responsibility and look for ways to reduce demands on limited police resources if we want their continued help. To support this BOSS has been trialling a scheme that proactively follows up motorists who have been reported for driving off without paying. Trials have the full support of police forces and the results we’ve seen show a significant number of motorists returning to pay and so reduce calls on police.

BOSS now has a third of UK fuel retailers as members, with more joining all the time.

We work hard with retailers and police to develop new initiatives that will reduce crime, recover more debt, especially from drive-offs, and so make UK forecourts attractive environments, any time of day or night, with less crime and more profitability for hard-pressed fuel retailers.