An index measuring the level of crime on forecourts has hit its highest ever reading, according to BOSS (British Oil Security Syndicate).

The latest BOSS Forecourt Crime Index for the first quarter of 2017 (January to March) has shown it has risen by seven points to 104, compared the previous quarter’s level of 97, and up 17 points in the year compared with 87 in the first quarter last year.

The BOSS Forecourt Crime Index was set at 100 in the first quarter (Q1) of 2015 and is based on no means of payment (NMoP) incidents reported to BOSS as part of its Payment Watch scheme.

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, said: “The rise in the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index shows that NMoPs remain a major cost for the industry and BOSS would encourage retailers to ensure continued vigilance to deter criminal activity.

“The latest BOSS data shows that the increase has been driven by an 8.8% rise in the number of NMoP incidents per participating site in Q1 2017 compared with Q4 2016.

“The successful recovery of NMoP losses from motorists who do not return to pay within seven days, requires retailers to ensure that they accurately record information about incidents so that BOSS has the necessary evidence to proactively pursue possible offenders.

“It is essential that still and video evidence is retained for at least nine months, otherwise police are not able to investigate and offenders cannot be prosecuted.” 

Q1 2017 compared with Q4 2016

The Index for Q1 2017 rose to 104 from 97 in Q4 2016, the first time it has been over 100 since Q2 2016.

The rise recorded in Q1 2017 was driven by an increase in the number incidents per site, up from 5.7 in Q4 2016 to 6.2. Over the same period the average fuel prices rose by 3.7% but, as the average volume taken fell by the greater proportion of 5.6%, the average loss per incident fell slightly from £40.43 to £39.59.

Q1 2017 compared with Q1 2016

In Q1 2016 the Index stood at 87. Incidents per site rose from 5.1 in Q1 2016 to 6.2 in Q1 2017. During the same period the average number of litres taken per incident has fallen by 8.8% but this has been more than offset by the 18.1% rise in fuel prices, so the loss per incident has increased 7.8%, from £36.74 to £39.59.

Year ended Q1 2017 compared with Year ended Q4 2016

The average initial loss per participating site reported (before any recovery through BOSS Payment Watch) for the year ended Q1 2017 was £937.72, up 6% from £884.34 the previous year.

BOSS Forecourt Crime Index 2015 to 2017

2015 Q1


2015 Q2


2015 Q3


2015 Q4


2016 Q1


2016 Q2


2016 Q3


2016 Q4


2017 Q1


Forecourt crime is estimated to cost retailers more than £30m annually with some two thirds of crime resulting from drive-offs and the remainder coming from NMoP incidents. Since BOSS Payment Watch was introduced more than £3m of NMoP losses have been recovered and returned to retailers.