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CONSULTING WITH BUSINESS ON CRIME

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The first ever consultation with commercial organisations on the most...
The first ever consultation with commercial organisations on the most

effective ways to combat business crime was announced today by Home

Office minister, John Denham.

Business crime is often seen as 'victimless', but whether it's

burglary, robbery or fraud, it's companies and their customers that

end up footing the bill. That's why businesses of all kinds, from

construction and finance, down to the local corner shop, are being

asked for their views on working with government and others to tackle

the problem.

The 12-week consultation, which starts today, marks an important step

towards reducing crime that affects the business community. Estimates

show that business crime costs the UK economy up to£19bn a year.

Mr Denham, minister for crime reduction, said:

'We all know that crime is bad for business. All crimes which affect

society in general affect business too, and the knock-on effects of

higher crime rates and unemployment can be damaging for entire

communities.

'Businesses are increasingly aware of the major role they have to

play in reducing crime and opportunities for crime, and some very

effective partnerships have already been set up to tackle specific

problems.

'Projects like the Chipping of Goods initiative, encouraging

crime-resistant product design, or working with mobile phone

companies to prevent the use of stolen phones, all show we are

committed to dealing with problems affecting a variety of different

sectors.

'I believe that we can build on these sorts of partnerships to all

our benefit. By going out to industry and giving them the opportunity

to air their views, I hope to get a clear picture of how we can

ensure that a partnership approach to crime reduction becomes normal

practice.

'We will consider all responses very carefully and if there is

sufficient interest there is a strong possibility that we will

establish a business crime unit aimed at developing a centre of

excellence within the Home Office to further develop initiatives to

reduce business related crime.'

Details of the consultation can be found online at

www.homeoffice.gov.uk and at www.crimereduction.gov.uk

Representatives from businesses are urged to start by discussing

their views with their trade associations.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce,

said,

'Businesses are twice as likely to become a victim of crime as an

individual. The BCC have long campaigned for crimes against business

to be counted.

'We are therefore pleased to welcome the Home Office Business Crime

Strategy Consultation. With business and government committed to

working together to reduce crime, we are confident that business will

flourish and communities prosper.'

Mr Denham said

'In government's view a partnership approach is key to sharing good

practice and targeting problem areas. I am confident we can work with

the private sector to crack crime. But for a partnership to work, it

must be set up in a way that meets the needs of its members. We look

forward to a positive response from business on the best ways for us

to work together.'

The Home Office aims to underline its commitment to tackling crime

and reducing opportunities for crime through effective partnership

working with business. Current initiatives include:

- the dedicated cheque and plastic card fraud unit

- VCRAT

- the West Midland retail crime initiative

- vehicle finance fraud with the Finance and Leasing Association.

Notes

1. The British Chamber of Commerce estimated that crime costs the UK

economy almost£19b a year as part of their 'Securing Enterprise'

campaign, December 2001.

2. Businesses interested in participating in the Home Office

consultation can find more information at www.crimereduction.gov.uk

or from www.homeoffice.gov.uk

3. Businesses interested in becoming more involved in crime reduction

at a regional level can contact their local crime and disorder

reduction partnerships through the regional government office.

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