Business crime accounts for 25% of all crime and increases the cost of goods, services and insurances. When a company suffers crime it impacts on the business, distresses staff and the bottom line is affected.
It is estimated that of new employees, 80% of those who steal, do so within the first year of employment. The average incident theft value by employees is £1,114 whilst from more senior members of staff who have generally been employed for some time, averages £15,000 plus costs. Companies with high staff turnover or that uses casual labour at peak times are at increased risk.
Theft and fraud within retail businesses is the largest volume crime in the UK and is increasing year on year. In addition to the risks of harm to staff and security personnel, managing such crime is costly and time consuming to retailers, shopping malls and town centres.
It is simply not possible for the Police to attend every incident of theft or fraud or for the Courts to try every case. The resource and financial costs in dealing with such incidents is vast to Police, Courts and business.
The cost of security staff and other loss prevention measures is a significant overhead cost to businesses. If there were no incidents of theft, fraud, or criminal damage there would be no need for loss prevention measures within a business. Civil recovery allows a company to take the view that it is fair and equitable for a fixed proportion of these loss prevention costs to be passed on to those who steal, commit fraud or cause damage. This reduces the costs which then have to be passed on to customers in general or tolerated by the business.
The purpose of criminal proceedings is to punish and rehabilitate an offender whilst the purpose of civil proceedings is to compensate the victim – the business itself. Whilst criminal proceedings need to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt, civil proceedings are based on the balance of probability once the wrongdoing is established.
Civil recovery can be used for many wrongdoings including, instances of theft, fraud, refund fraud, criminal damage, eating goods without making payment, dispensing fuel then omitting to pay, travelling on transport without purchasing a valid ticket and other such incidents.
There is a mistaken belief that just because a business recovers its property or cash, there is then no loss to the business. It is the preventative or detection measures that the business has had to implement at its own cost, that becomes claimable since without such measures, the incident would have gone undetected.
A civil claim can include the property or cash if not recovered or not fit for re-sale, the investigation time of all the personnel involved, administration costs and a contribution towards overall security measures. The law allows for the victim to be put back in the position they were in before the loss occurred.
Once a loss is established, other losses may be considered. This is especially important for internal staff cases or habitual customer incidents where the individual has not been apprehended on previous occasions.