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NBCS tackling crime

Catherine Bowen, pictured, Policy and Stakeholder Director at the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS), writes about the membership organisation that offers collaborative solutions to tackle cross border, serious and organised crime issues that affect businesses of all shapes and sizes.

NBCS is a membership organisation that offers collaborative solutions to tackle cross border, serious and organised crime issues that affect businesses of all shapes and sizes. We’re driven by a desire to reduce business crime and it is this desire that guides our every action on behalf of our members, who provide the funding and strategic direction of the NBCS. Our commitment to our members’ concerns enables us to remain relevant to their ongoing activity and ensures that we continue to understand the changing face of business crime across the UK.

The services that the NBCS provides are rooted in its approach to intelligence sharing. We act as a central repository for business crime data, which is submitted by the business community and analysed by our highly trained team of specialists. Through this process, NBCS staff are able to detect patterns in criminal behaviour, map ‘corridors of crime’, and understand the sorts of products of interest to criminals at any one point in time. This sort of intelligence is of crucial importance to police forces up and down the country, which use it to prevent crime and pursue criminals. It is also of real value to businesses, which use it to modify business as usual practices, such as delivery routes, and update their crime prevention systems.

This collaborative approach has been welcomed by law enforcement and political stakeholders. Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Susannah Fish, the National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Business Crime Reduction, recently stated in regard to the NBCS that “It’s great to see that the collective vision of both the police and business in having one centralised intelligence hub is really starting to connect crimes which would have traditionally been viewed as independent.”

The connectivity that the NBCS’s work provides is also valued at the highest strategic level of government. We play an active role on the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which sits within the Home Office and aims to formulate policies that will reduce retail crime.

A good example of where the NBCS is at the centre of collaborative efforts to tackle one of the UK’s most endemic criminal enterprises, which affects the retail sector in particular, is its role on the Tobacco Security Forum. This body brings together tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and logistics firms, as well as law enforcement bodies, in order to share intelligence and best practice in an effort to reduce the trade in illegal tobacco products, which cost the taxpayer £2.4 billion in 2015/16. Our efforts have furnished police forces and businesses across the UK with intelligence on the most common corridors criminals are using to steal tobacco products in transit. This has helped businesses prevent losses of high value products and police forces to target their resources more effectively. In today’s challenging environment, savings of this sort are more welcome than ever.

In another example, in early 2016, NBCS activity led to the arrest and sentencing of a prolific gang involved in shop theft from fashion retailers in the North West. A member company notified the NBCS of a shoplifter and subsequent research of NBCS records revealed offences against several other member businesses. Circulation of images of the offenders led to further member businesses reporting high value thefts by the same gang. At least four member businesses had been targeted, with estimated losses of around £40,000 in total. The NBCS briefed the police, who elevated this case to the North West Regional Organised Crime meeting for tasking. Subsequently, Greater Manchester Police took responsibility for the case, whereby gang members were arrested and sentenced to more than two year’s each in prison.

It is initiatives like the above that demonstrate why the NBCS was established. No one body, either public or private, holds a monopoly on the information necessary to prevent, pursue or prosecute crime. It is only by working together, by merging the information that we hold separately, that we can generate a comprehensive understanding of criminal activity. Effective enforcement of the law and prevention of crime rests on our ability to understand criminal behaviour in the most detailed way possible. The work of the NBCS plays a crucial role in this process.


Some NBCS statistics

Interventions led to 72 arrests – up by 37pc compared with same period last year.

Alerts led to 161 suspects being successfully identified – up by 56pc compared with last year.

NBCS activity led to arrest of teams costing businesses over £220,000.


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