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FSB Wales calls for action on business crime as 40% of business have been hit

FSB’s new report Calling Time on Business Crime: Safeguarding small firms for the future interviewed businesses from across the UK to determine how business crime is affecting the SME population.

Based on the FSB 2019 Business Crime Survey, 40% of Welsh businesses have been subject to business crime in the last 2 years.

Of those that have experienced crime, 28% said that this crime was traditional (i.e. non cyber), whilst 13% of businesses have suffered cybercrime.

Experience of crime varies widely across key small business sectors. Across England and Wales, the wholesale and retail sector appears to be most frequently affected, with three in five (59%) smaller businesses in this sector saying they have experienced crime in the last two years. At the other end of the spectrum, only a third (33%) of those working in the professional, scientific and technical sector say they have experienced crime over the same period.

Of those small firms that experienced traditional crime in the previous two years, the most frequently reported types are robbery/burglary (42%), theft (38%) and criminal damage (36%). In total, these crimes are reported by a combined 83 per cent of all those that experienced traditional crime.

The risk of these types of crime increases with size of business. The exception to this rule is theft, which drops for businesses larger than 20 employees. At this size, businesses may have both the resources to invest in counter-measures and the footprint to make doing so economically worthwhile.

Commenting on the report, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:

“Business crime is a serious concern for our members. As such, it is imperative that UK Government take any action that they can to support SMEs and prevent crime from occurring.

“FSB data found that the average cost of crime to a business is nearly £3,000 per victim business per year, but it is worth remembering that it is not a financial cost alone that is associated with business crime.

“These figures do not factor in-direct negative impacts such as reputational damage that can follow the perpetration of a crime, the lost hours and days and cancelled or delayed business plans that often follow from being subject to a criminal act.

“The main areas in which we can deal with business crime are dealing with the underlying issues causing people to move into criminality, working with businesses to reduce the opportunities to commit crime, and prioritising deterrence.

“It is important to recognise the impact that business crime has on businesses, individuals and our economy, and to work together so that we can reduce the negative effects of business crime on our communities as a whole.”