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BOSS drive-off initiative

Thousands of ‘Drive-Off’ incidents as collated by BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, suggest that two thirds of ‘drive-offs are the result of a failure to pay in store; and only one third are the result of vehicles driving away from the pump without making any attempt to pay for the fuel.

This finding follows a year-long trial of a ‘Drive Off’ recovery service from BOSS at numerous retail fuel outlets. Drive offs cost forecourt retailers an estimated £20m a year. The trial covered drivers filling up, making no attempt to pay and then driving off; and where drivers draw fuel, enter the store and then leave without paying for their fuel.

The BOSS survey found that 67.3pc of incidents were recorded as a failure to pay in-store, while 32.7pc involved a vehicle drawing fuel and driving off without any attempt to pay.

The trial involved BOSS pursuing the registered keepers of vehicles reported as driving off without making payment for fuel. After receipt of a Drive-Off report from a forecourt retailer BOSS initiated its new recovery strategy and during the survey period 77.9pc of incidents were later fully paid for by the motorist, without referring the incident to the police. Over the 12 month trial BOSS estimates that the new initiative has saved 4,600 police man hours (576 police man days).

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, pictured, said: “There may be many reasons why drivers fail to pay for fuel, a mistake or deliberate action, but we’re finding police tend to treat in-store Drive-Offs as a civil offence and are therefore not treating these incidents as a crime, so take no action. What’s exciting about this new BOSS Drive-Off initiative is that it’s the industry taking control of reporting and recovering losses. During the trial only five per cent of incidents have had to be reported to the police, which saves the police a huge amount of time. We’re planning to make the initiative available to police forces across the country so that both police and retailers can benefit.”

About the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS)

A not-for-profit independent trade organisation campaigning to reduce forecourt crime, formed in 1991 by the oil industry, membership is available to all UK fuel retailers and oil companies. BOSS is supported by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU); Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK); the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC, formerly ACPO); the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC); the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF); and the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA).


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