My sincere greetings to you and it is with great pleasure I write my first Blog entry in my new role as National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Business Crime.
In my role as City of London Police Commissioner, I feel this is natural fit as I am heavily involved on a day-to-day basis with the use of fraud and cyber techniques to criminally target the UK’s businesses. I have discussed my views and ideas at length with National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) operational lead, Chief Inspector Patrick Holdaway, as well as with my predecessor as NPCC lead, Sir Craig Mackey, to whom I congratulate on his retirement and thank him for overseeing the creation of the NBCC and the fantastic opportunity this centre gives us to address the crimes most affecting businesses.
I was immediately drawn to the NBCC’s strapline of ‘Reducing crime through partnership and prevention’ and believe partnership is to be the key to any strategy going forwards. I value their work in creating links in sectors throughout the country as well as focusing attention on business crime within forces and see my role as coordinating a response to the gravest issues which threaten the working lives of so many, as well as the economic stability of the UK, using this stakeholder engagement to positively influence future policy and working strategies. This is truly a crime type where we all have a vested interest in working together to identify, create and then drive forwards solutions, many of which I fully recognise may come from the business world, as well as the law enforcement one.
So what are these issues? I believe some of the most concerning are those involving Level 2 organised criminals, moving around the country and using this transience to cloud the accuracy of ascertaining their involvement in large scale offending. New GDPR regulations have not assisted with this, as I understand there is some hesitancy in sharing intelligence between businesses. Assaults on staff simply trying to earn a living and perform their role is unacceptable and their protection is one of my immediate priorities.
So what is happening to address these? Collaborating with other Forces and law enforcement agencies, the NBCC is focusing on fighting high level organised business crime via a proposed project which will bring business intelligence to join that held by Police and by the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), as well as that held by Operation Liberal, now renamed as Operation Opal.
NBCC leads the Home Office Violence Reduction working group and held the first ‘Tackling Violent Crime’ conference in 2018, as well as many regional training events and continues to make violence reduction a priority, with a further meeting chaired at Ministerial level in February 2019.
The NBCC website continues to have content added, acting as a one-stop-shop for businesses large and small, seeking to engage with law enforcement, signposting to the right departments and providing coordination across agencies www.nbcc.police.uk. Here you will find documents and tool kits aiming to assist you, such as a presentation demystifying GDPR to encourage the sharing of intelligence. If you have not done so yet, I would urge you to register on the site so you can receive the latest updates and bulletins.
As I hope you will have gleaned from the aforementioned paragraphs, I see my strategic direction for the Business Crime Portfolio as involving those who encounter it on a daily basis. I encourage and will ensure that the NBCC and my other specialist departments with the City of London, such as Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, continue to work in a joined up manner but also continue to support and create working groups within the sectors that make up the business community. I know that they already support stakeholder engagement with both large and smaller scale membership groups in sectors ranging from finance, food & drink, online platforms, utility companies, retail, transport, agriculture and communications, the last of these I have only this week agreed to send guidance to Chief Constables around the UK to ensure that concerns from this sector are being heard and addressed. I will use my role to engage with other NPCC leads and work to the best of our ability to tackle the key areas where there is a shared responsibility and that are sometimes seen as convoluted, such as Organised Crime and its impact on businesses.
To this end, the NBCC are scoping and creating a ‘Business Crime’ definition working group with the Home Office, with the aim of co-ordinating the reporting of business crime and enable accurate statistics. The idea is to look at systemic issues of crimes affecting businesses because they are a business, not just because the offence took place on business premises. I look forward to introducing this new definition to you very soon.
All that remains is to thank you once again for all of your hard work and I look forward to addressing you once again in the near future.
Ian Dyson, City of London Police Commissioner
NPCC Lead for Business Crime