Independent retailers have backed calls from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) for the government and police to take business crime more seriously.

The FSB has launched 'The Forgotten Fifth', an action plan to tackle the 20% of crime committed against business in the UK. The federation believes the Home Office should carry out a survey into business crime every two years, and that crime and disorder partnerships should focus on business crime in their strategies.
It has renewed calls for crimes against businesses to be effectively punished as a deterrent.

Retailers were quick to welcome the FSB's campaign. David Brunt, from Londis Late Stores in Stoke-on-Trent, said: "There seems to be no deterrent for business crime. The police aren't interested in small-value crimes, but it's here that serious criminals start out.

"On-the-spot fines don't send out the right message. There has to be a rethink on how business crime is handled."

Fellow retailer John Mainwood, of Sedlescombe Post Office and Stores in East Sussex, added: "I've been horrified to hear proposals to cut sentencing for crimes like shoplifting, and although we're in a reasonably quiet location, we would certainly benefit from a greater police presence in the village." 

FSB home affairs chairman David Croucher added: "Crime against businesses makes up at least 20% of all crime, but the authorities don't put the same priority on this as they do on domestic crime. Some 57% of small businesses have been the victim of at least one crime in the past year. The challenge is for the Home Office and police to put this huge number of crimes on their priority list and end this fragmented approach."