Latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses shows that small businesses are incurring mammoth costs of almost £17 billion every year due to criminal activity.

These latest figures show the immense pressure that all small firms are facing on a daily basis. They come at a time of huge uncertainty and increasing costs for small businesses.

Fact is, business crime is a serious issue that is increasing costs for small firms up and down the country.

It’s therefore vital that the Government, especially the incoming new administration, helps to plug the multi-billion pound black hole that is sapping income from businesses – small and large.

It’s also important that businesses and communities report crime when it occurs. Under-reporting is a major issue – because businesses and communities often think that nothing will be done or, equally damaging, they think that it will have negative repercussions on their business or their area.

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We must move to a culture of reporting criminality as and when it happens – to stand any chance of holding the perpetrators to account.

At the end of the day, if enforcement agencies are unaware of the extent of the issues, they will be unable to allocate the resources needed to tackle them.

Businesses and communities should not believe that ‘keeping quiet’ will help to keep them safe from crime. However, they do need to know that reporting crime will be taken seriously – and will achieve results. That’s why FSB wants police numbers in England and Wales to be increased to be closer to the European average of more than 300 officers per 100,000 people. At the moment, there are just 212 per 100,000.

The availability of more police officers and resources is a critical step in ensuring that crimes are both prevented and subsequently investigated.

The Home Office must link funding to the proper resourcing of business crime. This sort of action will not only benefit small businesses but the wider economy and the country as a whole.