Poor recording prompts new ‘business crime’ definition for PSNI

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has finally adopted a definition of ‘business crime’ after an inspection found it was struggling to measure its impact.

Oct 18, 2017

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has finally adopted a definition of ‘business crime’ after an inspection found it was struggling to measure its impact. A report by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) claimed the force had no way of recording the level of business crime it deals with because, unlike the rest of the UK, it had refused to apply a consistent description. CJINI said this made it difficult to establish a clear picture of shoplifting, robbery and cyber attacks or effectively prioritise resources. In response, the force has worked with partners to implement the definition “any criminal offence that is committed against a person or property that is associated by the connection of that person or property to a business, based on the perception of the victim”. Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said this action will assure businesses that crimes against them are being treated seriously. He added: “It is in all of our interests to ensure that local businesses run as safely and securely as possible and it is my hope that the implementation of the business crime definition will assist us in having more thorough collaboration with partnerships and the business community.” The definition introduced by the PSNI is almost identical to the one used in England and Wales but with the added qualifier that it must be based on the victim’s perception. The PSNI had previously been reluctant to adopt it because it believed the description was too broad. The CJINI report also praised the PSNI for its well-established strategic relationships with the business community through the Business Crime Partnership. It said this work is progressing the force’s business crime action plan, which CJINI described as a “positive step”. However, inspectors found the action plan needs further development and lacks sufficient accountability and governance. They also warned that relationships with partners should not rely on specific people and recommended that the PSNI introduce succession planning arrangements. CJINI added that opportunities offered by partnership working, such as greater information sharing, could be better utilised. Sinead Simpson, chair of the Business Crime Partnership, said: “Today’s report highlights the well-established strategic relationship between the police and the organisations represented on the partnership, and reinforces the benefits of a collaborative working approach. “Progress continues to be made in tackling business crime in all its guises.”

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