United in tackling business crime at Herts Chamber of Commerce
A group of Hertfordshire businesses have come together once again to press ahead with plans to tackle existing and emerging type of business crime, at the second meeting of the county’s recently formed Independent Business Advisory Group (IBAG).

Developed by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, the forum consisting of representatives from the rural community, information technology, and professional services joined with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction and Community Safety Team to address key issues facing the local business community.

Following the success of the groups inaugural meeting in April, they will now meet quarterly to discuss and share experiences and advice from their chosen fields to help shape a county-wide united voice in tackling business crime. The meeting was chaired by Neville Reyner,CBE DL Chairman of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce which supports and engages the local business community with networking, advice and support for its members.

The meeting kicked off with a presentation from Paul Witcombe from the Local Enterprise Partnership, who gave an overview of the business landscape in Hertfordshire. The information will be used in conjunction with crime data to target the group’s approach. 

Julie Lloyd of Hertfordshire Constabulary gave the latest update from Business Watch – the business focused arm of the county’s ever popular Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Recent success stories include targeted messages to retailers of iTunes vouchers, whose older customers are sometimes targeted by fraudsters and discussion led to ways to recruit additional members to the over 4,000 businesses signed up currently.

Delegates were also given a sneak peek at the latest business crime e-learning module on Citizens Academy (www.hertscitizensacademy.org) , the interactive crime prevention advice website launched by the Commissioner earlier this year. The site, which rolls out online education modules on topics such as burglary, theft, personal safety and rural crime, sought feedback from the group on the new business focused module before going live in the coming weeks and being shared amongst the business community.

A round table discussion followed to give each member the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas around business crime and community safety for discussion. The group agreed on several ways of working together to get out consistent relevant messages on prevention to businesses and encouraging reporting of business crime.

Commissioner Lloyd said: “With business crimes currently accounting for one in five crimes in Hertfordshire and it estimated just over half of these then go unreported, it is imperative police, partners and local businesses come together take action.

“This forum gives a unique, real-time insight into the crime and community safety related issues facing businesses in Hertfordshire and more importantly, a welcome platform for discussion. Business crime can vary from complex online fraud to the physical effects of criminal damage and shoplifting. By coming together we will have the capacity to deal with the realities of this multi-faceted threat.”

 Appointed Chair of the Group Neville Reyner added: “I am thrilled to welcome this Independent Advisory Group to the Chamber of Commerce as its latest venue. Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is well positioned to open doors and forge new business relationships to help local organisations connect, collaborate and grow.

“This latest meeting sparked some useful insights  -sharing the online tool of Citizens’ Academy and also encouraging  use of Business Watch are just some of the ways we can help encourage Hertfordshire to be a ‘safe county of opportunity’ for local business.“

 The Independent Business Advisory Group was born from the Commissioner’s Business Crime Survey, the findings of which are the basis for his business crime strategy ‘Tackling Business Crime Together’. Feedback from the latest event will help steer the theme for their next gathering later in the autumn.

 For further information on the Independent Business Advisory Group contact Nathan Davies, Policy Officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 01707 806150 or email commissioner@herts.pnn.police.uk.