Sussex Police has launched its Business Crime Team (BCT) which is dedicated to tackling business crime and provide support to our business communities.

The team is made up of nine investigators and a sergeant, through existing resources to work smarter and investigate business crime, improve partnership working and tackle this crime type through innovative use of technology. 

It will support the business community by working closely with partners, businesses and customers to bring together intelligence from across the county so they can provide crime prevention advice and catch the criminals who are targeting and affecting businesses large and small.

Assistant Chief Constable Tanya Jones said: “Business Crime is not a victimless crime. Many places are small businesses, where the theft is very much felt, and shoplifters often come into contact with shop staff which has a real impact on them dealing with such offenders. Shop employees are often faced with aggressive individuals, and they should not have to deal with such incidents during the course of their work.

“We are working with partners like The Safer Sussex Business Partnership (SSBP) which brings together local and national retailers and other interested partners to tackle the root causes of business crime, encourage swifter reporting and find better ways to work collaboratively ensuring we catch prolific offenders and protect businesses.

“The SSBP provides Sussex Police with an advisory and resilience forum drawn from the business community so that the force can obtain feedback on crimes affecting businesses across urban and rural locations.

“We have also joined other forces in using NICE Investigate, which allows digital evidence such as CCTV to be passed directly to us online when a business reports to us.

“When a retailer reports a crime, we capture the footage digitally or use the mapping tool to request footage from other cameras that have been registered onto the portal. This mean the team can use this technology to access the evidence they need in minutes rather than days.”

The team helped bring prolific offender Mark Salter to justice when he was arrested last month and charged with nine counts of shoplifting at store during the summer including at the Southern Co-op store in Hawthorn Road, Bognor. Salter, 35, pleaded guilty to all the charges when he appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to undertake a drug rehabilitation programme, order to pay victim surcharge costs and community order costs. 

Gareth Lewis, loss prevention and security manager at Southern Co-op, said: “One of our security guards was recently threatened with a knife and a violent shoplifter verbally abused and threatened store colleagues – fleeting moments, but terrifying moments that will stay with them for life. The effects upon the individual are devastating.

“All too often, what happens in our stores is echoed in the surrounding communities. If we can work with Sussex Police in any capacity to tackle the causes of crime then this will also benefit the local neighbourhoods. Working together and working co-operatively can only have a positive impact on everyone’s lives.” 

Sussex Police Crime and Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am delighted about the new Business Crime Team now established by Sussex Police. As local businesses have been saying, this is exactly what is needed to identify prolific offenders and get them off our high streets to create a safer environment both for shoppers and retail workers.

“Our Safer Sussex Business Partnership is focussed on improving how we work together and this new team is a great example of the police working effectively with the business sector to gather data, solve more crimes and successfully prosecute more offenders. Police forces around the country are now following our example and the work we are doing here in Sussex has even been commended by the Crime, Policing and Probation Minister Kit Malthouse.”

For more information on how Sussex Police tackles business crime read here