Details of how forecourt crime can be reduced by between 35% and 50% were unveiled to more than 200 delegates representing 12 UK police forces, major oil companies and petrol retailers at a Fighting Forecourt Crime seminar in Birmingham.

Research from the seminar organisers, BOSS – the British Oil Security Syndicate – has shown that criminal activity on forecourts costs the industry more than £20million each year. Delegates at the seminar learnt about the successful Forecourt Watch schemes that are now operating in more than 70 areas nationwide. Crime rates have apparently fallen significantly where these schemes are in operation.

Detective chief inspector Tim Godwin from West Midlands Police said: “Since our Forecourt Watch scheme was introduced in north east Coventry, crime in service stations in that area have been reduced by a dramatic 57%.

“Not only is this a hugely positive result for the retailers, it also frees up valuable police time to deal with other urgent tasks. Criminals in the area now know that forecourts are no longer an easy target and we hope to reinforce this message as more retailers join the scheme.”

Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS, said: “Oil companies, forecourt retailers and police forces alike are really clamping down on criminal activity on UK forecourts. This determination to prevent the activities of lawless individuals, coupled with advances in technology and charges in criminal legislation means there is no better time to introduce practical measures to address crime.”