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Crime and victims

Business & retail crime

The cost of business and retail crime is felt across many fronts.

Far from being ‘victimless’, these crimes hurt employers and employees, customers and even the wider community.

This is why reducing this kind of crime is so important for everyone.

The cost of business crime

The extent of the problem is further revealed by the police figures for England and Wales 2007/08, which indicate the total number of shoplifting offences recorded by the police was 290,625– down 2% over the previous year.

Government initiatives to tackle business crime

What we’re doing to crack down on business crime:

Business crime reduction advisors

Each of the government offices in England and Wales has appointed a business crime reduction advisor.

Their role is to develop a true understanding of the issues affecting businesses within their region and ensure that crime reduction initiatives focus on local needs.  Find out more on the Crime Reduction website (new window).

Helping small retailers in deprived areas

This £15 million project has helped 12,500 small businesses improve their security measures.   Find out more at the Crime Reduction website (new window).

Encouraging secure design

The design against crime initiative (new window) seeks to encourage businesses to consider the crime resistance of their designs and systems before launching them.

We have also worked with major businesses on the chipping of goods initiative (new window) and have invested £5.5 million in demonstrating the benefits of electronic tagging throughout the retail supply chain.

Reducing drug-related retail crime

We are running pilot projects that link retailers to local Drug Action teams in order to organise better access to treatment for persistent shop thieves with drug problems.


The PASS scheme: helping you comply with the law

Retailers risk severe penalties if they are caught selling age-restricted products, such as alcohol and cigarettes, to under-age customers. 

As different products have different age restrictions retailers should always apply the 'Challenge 21' approach - challenging anyone who looks under 21 to prove their age. 

 PASS (proof-of-age standards scheme) helps them comply with the law on age-restricted products by allowing young customers to prove their age using standardised proof-of-age cards.

Since these cards all display a PASS holographic logo, which proves the cards are legitimate, they are now one of the few acceptable forms of ID, along with passports and photo-ID driving licences, accepted by businesses.

For more about PASS and a list of all PASS-approved cards, download the PASS leaflet

Tips to protect your business

1.  Visit our business crime mini-site

The business crime mini-site (new window) on the Home Office Crime Reduction website holds lots of useful information for businesses and retailers.

It offers the business security booklet 'Your business, keep crime out of it', which explains how to conduct a crime prevention survey on your business premises, as well as links to other helpful websites.

2. Visit the Design Against Crime website

Design Against Crime (new window) offers useful advice on how design can help reduce crime against your business.

It showcases a variety of case studies, and offers educational materials and information for designers and business owners.

See also

(Links will open in a new window)

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Related documents

Home Office websites