I’m an early riser and tend to be up and about by 6.30am. I’ll start the day with a coffee and cereals while listening to the Today programme, before heading to the office. I’ll check emails, catch up on news feeds to see what’s going on in the industry and prioritise the day’s tasks. I often speak with the BOSS chairman, Peter Oakford, who is sales manager of Texaco, before 7.30am he’s another early starter.
BOSS head office is in south Warwickshire, which means I’m ideally placed right in the middle of all the major road and transport networks. Within no time at all I can be on the M1, M40 or M6. I’m lucky enough to be assisted in the office by Claire Nichol, who holds the fort whenever I’m not there and keeps on top of the administration and paperwork.
The first half of this year has been a very busy time for BOSS. We recently published our Forecourt Crime Survey results for 2010, which showed that the cost of crime to UK fuel retailers went up compared to the year before. On a typical day we’ll get between 10 and 20 phone calls from retailers, police or associate organisations and security service providers who are interested in learning more about how we can help them reduce crime and especially, of late, wanting to join one of our BOSS schemes, namely Forecourt Watch or Payment Watch.
In just over a year we’ve signed up almost 1,000 retailers to our highly successful Payment Watch scheme. Plus we’re getting a lot of interest in it from retailers seeking our help to recover money from people who claim to have no means to pay for fuel, promise to pay later but don’t do so. Even more rewarding are the conversations we have with retailers telling us that joining Payment Watch has made a huge difference in cutting their financial losses from this type of crime it’s nice to know when you’re getting things right!
As well as speaking to retailers, I speak regularly to the six BOSS co-ordinators who look after their geographical areas, or a country in the case of Jim Anderson in Scotland! The co-ordinators are the local eyes and ears for BOSS and promote what we do for retailers and police in their areas. They all have industry or police backgrounds, which means they understand the problems retailers have and how signing up to BOSS can deliver a real advantage.
I am often out and about to support them in meetings or on site with retailers, dealer councils, police or when we’re launching a Forecourt Watch scheme in a police force area. With more than 70 Forecourt Watch schemes in operation, we’re now working with more retailers than ever before, to drive forecourt crime levels down.
I’m also in regular contact with our oil company members BP, Shell, Texaco and Total and their fuel retailers, who are automatically BOSS members, plus the many police forces with which we work. This might be over the phone but I do spend a lot of time out of the office meeting them; I believe the personal touch goes a long way. Without their support and commitment, what BOSS delivers just wouldn’t be possible.
Conversations with the police will often reveal news of arrests, charges or convictions of offenders who have stolen fuel. For example, we recently heard a good news story about three men who are due to appear in court for sentencing this month, after pleading guilty to charges related to numerous bulk fuel thefts. This is a problem we’re working hard to address with police and security equipment providers. I enjoy hearing about these arrests as it shows how everyone’s hard work has resulted in criminals being brought to book.
Each day with BOSS is different, but the bottom line is that I still get a real buzz out of the work we do, helping fuel retailers fight crime and recover losses. We always aim to make their sites safer for staff and customers, driving down their crime levels and hopefully along the way assist the police in apprehending those who commit crimes on the UK’s forecourts.