I have operated in the world of tackling business crime for over 20 years and I am a passionate advocate for a partnership and collaborative approach being the right way forward in dealing not only with the crime and the offender but just as importantly; the reason or motivation for the crime. There is no doubt that business crime is on the increase.

Statistics show that violent crime and in particular the use of weapons is at its worst in over 70 years. Localised crime in particular, impacts the communities in which we trade, it blights the lives of our customers and our colleagues and therefore, the need to work together to protect our people, our businesses and our communities has never been greater.

The Retail sector, in particular, is a key target for criminality. Where the offender is driven by the need to feed their addiction, I’m afraid that Retail is seen by them as a ‘soft touch’, an easy target and that’s even with the sector making record-breaking investments into security infrastructure. In these circumstances, incidents of retail crime have the potential to escalate, as seen by the current record levels of violence – and the threat of violence – throughout the sector. These incidents are not victimless; they affect real people often with dramatic and even life-changing consequences.

The criminal element operating at this level and targeting businesses, simply believe that there is no punitive accountability for their actions at any level, put simply they are experiencing that crime pays. I am now of the belief, that it is only the business community that can change this. The Police can’t, they simply do not have the resources and of course, the resource they do have must be focused on higher threat/harm priorities. Central Government have delivered the legislation and infrastructure for us to operate within, whilst having to deal with the priority impacts of Brexit, Covid and getting the country back on its feet. The Courts apply the law. If we are to deal effectively with these issues, provide real solutions and bring real pressure for change to bear then businesses must act together. We must take ownership of the crime that is impacting our business and placing our colleagues’ physical and mental health at risk.

In order to tackle these issues, businesses must change from ‘I’ to ‘We’.

UKPAC has been founded as a co-operative, with the key aim of providing businesses, regardless of location, size or type, with the opportunity to band together and combat the ever-increasing tide of crime. Together we will lead the fight against business crime; through partnership and collaboration; firstly with each other and of course with Policing, Police & Crime Commissioners and alongside other partners and like-minded organisations, whilst delivering on our co-operative’s core principles of; ‘Concern for Community’ and ‘Putting People First’.

I sincerely hope that you will join UKPAC as a Member and help us all to be ‘Stronger Together’.

Gareth Lewis
UKPAC (UK Partners Against Crime)