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Forecourt crime survey

Crime on Britain’s forecourts cost fuel retailers £25.7m in 2012, up from £22.2 million in 2010. That is according to an annual forecourt crime survey by BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate.

The main source of the estimated total loss is £20.4m resulting from ‘drive-off’ incidents – up 31 per cent compared to £15.5m in 2010 – with a further £4.2m lost from motorists claiming to have ‘no means of payment’ (NMoP) who then fail to return to clear their debt.

The combined drive-off and NMoP loss for the average UK service station in 2012 was £2,860, up 28% compared with 2010, partly as a consequence of fuel prices which rose 17.4% in the same period.

BOSS says that it’s addressing these problems on several fronts. At a local level, where its established Forecourt Watch schemes are operating, losses have been shown to fall by up to 55pc. These schemes are initiated by BOSS on behalf of its retail members and help to forge relationships between retailers and local police to detect forecourt crime.

On a national level the BOSS Payment Watch scheme, available to all mainland UK service stations, is about to be offered with a new electronic reporting system which will help retailers to submit incident reports accurately and promptly. BOSS Payment Watch helps 1,200 retailers who are already members of the scheme to recover more than 80pc of their financial losses from NMoP incidents. The Payment Watch scheme has the multiple benefits of deterring such activity, making it easy for motorists to pay, collecting debts from those who do not and returning money to retailers when incidents do occur. To date the debt collection element alone has recovered more than £500,000 of NMoP losses.

The survey also suggested that in the last two years robbery losses, including attacks on contractors collecting cash or re-stocking cash machines, dropped substantially from £1.43m to £0.67m with burglary losses also falling from £0.72m to £0.48m. With robbery there is the added risk of personal injury because it involves violence or the threat of it.

Kevin Eastwood, executive director of Rugby-based BOSS, says: “BOSS is introducing new technology initiatives to improve our existing schemes and increase support for fuel retailers. We’re launching a new electronic portal to enhance our popular Payment Watch scheme. It will assist retailers to report details of no means of payment incidents more accurately and promptly, improving the chances of recovering the debt. It is planned that a similar system, which has already undergone a successful trial with Hertfordshire Constabulary, will be introduced for the reporting of drive-offs to the police. These electronic reporting systems will enable accurate and timely submission of incident reports by the retailer, and facilitate swifter and more effective subsequent action by the debt collection agency and police – greatly increasing the opportunity for recovery and early detection of offenders.”

About BOSS

The British Oil Security Syndicate Ltd. (BOSS) is a not-for-profit trade organisation aiming to reduce forecourt crime. Formed in 1991 by the oil industry, membership is available to all fuel retailers and oil companies. BOSS is supported by the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA), UK Payments Administration, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). For more information – visit www.bossuk.org


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