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Companies urge more effort to combat “invisible” business crime

Influential business organisation London First today called for increased efforts to combat criminal activity against business in the capital.

London First’s report, Consultation with business on crime and policing in London, captures the views of London First members, who represent over 300 of the capital’s leading companies. The report points to recent successful collaborations with police but urges both the police and government to ‘up the ante’ in their work to fight crime against business which can be damaging to UK productivity.

Today’s call from London First comes ahead of a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 22 May) between Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the London Business Advisory Group, comprising representatives of London First, London CBI and London Chamber of Commerce, where the findings of the report will be discussed.

London First calls for partnerships at both a local and pan-London level to be developed and strengthened so that police can provide a more tailored response to the needs of businesses.

Clive Ansell, BT Group Strategy Director and Chair of London First Business Advisory Group, said:

“Although less visible than other forms of crime, and with no obvious victims, crime against business is a serious problem. Unfortunately, it is too often a case of out of sight, out of mind. We need government, police and business to identify together how best to tackle the issue. This means defining those instances where business can expect the police to act and those where business should find a solution itself. That way, we can find a pragmatic solution for all.”

Commander Rod Jarman, from the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “We welcome any suggestions on how we can improve the service we provide to local businesses across London. The MPS has worked for many years with London First, which has provided a valuable insight into the needs of businesses and how the police can respond to them. Today’s report builds on this successful relationship and we hope to continue to work with London First in the future.

“Over the last two years, the Met has rolled out Safer Neighbourhoods’ teams across London which are forging stronger links both with residents and local businesses in their wards. This report has provided a number of practical suggestions on how we can develop this way of working in the future to make the service we provide even better.”

The report makes a number of practical suggestions as to how business confidence can be increased through improving communication and creating better local support. These include the appointment of business liaison officers and a clearer understanding of priorities governing police response to incidents.

In addition, the report has called for greater clarity on crime statistics with reference to businesses. In particular it asks the Home Office to conduct regular victimisation surveys and for police to consider how they could collect data from within their systems.

The report states: Businesses in London have a high regard for police services across the capital and appreciate the pressures that senior police have to face. Over the past five years, London First has worked with police and businesses to encourage greater collaboration and a number of police-business initiatives have been established.

Notes to editors

London First undertook a consultation with members following a call from Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, for feedback on the type of police service Londoners required in his Dimbleby lecture in November 2005. The consultation findings were presented to Sir Ian in March this year.

London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

London First delivers its activities with the support of 300 of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent 26% of London’s GDP.

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