Kent businesses don’t report all crimes or antisocial behaviour to the police, even though most experience it.

A worrying new survey published by Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, shows most companies experienced either criminal damage, graffiti or antisocial behaviour last year, but fewer than half reported all these things to the police. 

The Business Crime Survey asked companies of all sizes around Kent, what level of criminal activity they’d experienced in the last year.  Three quarters of them told us they’d suffered some.  Of those who had:

  • 74% said they’d witnessed antisocial behaviour.
  • 56% said they’d experienced criminal damage.
  • 40% said they’d been the victims of assault. 
  • 37% said they’d experienced shoplifting.
  • 31% said they’d been victims of burglary or robbery.
  • 18% said they’d been victims of fraud or cyber-crime.
  • 9% said they’d suffered hate crime.
  • 7% said they’d suffered online abuse.

However, when asked whether they’d reported ALL the incidents to the police, only 45% said they had and 40% said they’d reported some.  15% said they had not reported any incidents.   Larger companies were more likely to report crimes than smaller ones, with only 34% of sole traders calling the police in all cases.

When asked why, most said they didn’t think anyone would be punished for the offence (61%) and 50% said they didn’t think the police would investigate it properly. 40% said it took too long to report a crime. 

The survey also questioned what would make them feel safer in the future:

  • 79% said more visible policing.
  • 74% said tougher sentences for offenders.
  • 53% said more CCTV in area.

On top of that people requested faster response times, being kept more up to date with investigations and quicker processing by the courts.

Matthew Scott, Kent’s PCC said, “It’s important that we understand the challenges that businesses face and work with them to make their employees safer. During the pandemic, those working in retail have been part of the frontline response and I want to do all I can to help get them the service they want and need.

It’s important that CCTV continues to be provided locally, and great councils have continued to invest in this. The town centre policing teams are being proactive in supporting companies in the fight against crime and antisocial behaviour. But we need sentences and rehabilitation to be meaningful.”

Superintendent Peter Steenhuis said: ‘We take crimes against businesses seriously and would encourage them to report all incidents to us.  Over the last 18 months the PCC and Kent Police have invested in dedicated Town Centre Officers who are working with businesses to resolve the issues the survey reveals.

We will continue to work with our partners to continue to address the concerns raised by the business community.’

By Ed

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