The National Association of Business Crime Partnerships (NABCP) is working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on a series of visits to member partnerships designed to give them salient advice and help ensure that they’re aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act (DPA).
In practice, there will also be an anonymised online survey which partnerships can complete to take them through various points of the DPA and help provide them with a better understanding of its overall requirements.
The ICO is, of course, the regulator for data protection and works with public and private sector organisations alike to help ensure that, through its advisory visit service, it can provide Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) with practical advice and guidance on how to improve their data protection practices and that the processing of personal data is duly respected in line with legal requirements as well as industry standards.
A number of partnerships have agreed to host visits from the ICO auditor’s staff and, as stated, there will also be an anonymised data protection survey which all partnerships can complete. Once this process has been finalised, the information and knowledge gained will be fed back to BCRPs such that they can then put any lessons learned into practice as part of their daily operations.
Speaking about this development, Lisa Perretta (chair of the NABCP’s dedicated Partnerships Council) said: “We all try very hard to ensure that we comply with the DPA, but we also acknowledge that we’re not experts in this field and can always benefit from the help and advice of those who are. I’m looking forward to the visit and hope that every partnership completes the online survey, which will undoubtedly prove to be a really useful exercise.”
Mike Schuck, operations director for the NABCP, added: “This is a very welcome invitation from the ICO. While we do offer advice to our BCRPs and regularly consult with the ICO, data protection is a specialised field and the organisation’s offer to visit partnerships and carry out data health checks while assisting with the online survey will be extremely helpful. This process will certainly provide invaluable learning for us all. We see this as positive assistance to help partnerships promote Best Practice and raise standards.”
Crime against businesses
In the 2015 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS), 972 respondents from premises in the wholesale and retail sector were asked if they had experienced any of a range of crime types in the 12 months prior to interview and, if so, how many incidents of crime had been experienced.
However, since this business sector includes wholesalers and motor vehicle trade and repair businesses as well as retailers, the findings will not reflect as clearly the experience of retailers.
Wholesale and retail premises experienced 4.7 million crimes in the year prior to interview. Of these incidents, almost three-quarters (72%) involved theft by customers (ie shoplifting, which accounted for 3.3 million incidents). This proportion of crime attributed to thefts by customers is higher than in previous survey years (2012 to 2014) where it ranged from 51% to 55% of all crime.
By way of contrast, the proportion of thefts conducted by unknown individuals (ie thefts where the offender couldn’t be identified) has fallen to 10% of all crime against this sector, compared with proportions of between one fifth and a quarter in each of the previous three survey years.
The breakdown of the theft figures is affected by the fact that it’s not always possible to identify the offender. In the past, it has always been supposed that theft by unknown persons largely consists of theft by customers. The changes described above may suggest that, in 2015, rather than there being a genuine change in the rate of thefts carried out by unknown individuals, the perpetrator has been identifiable in a higher proportion of cases, particularly as the combined proportion of wholesale and retail theft made up of shoplifting and theft by unknown persons has remained nearly constant (at somewhere between 96% and 99%).
The rate of all crime against the wholesale and retail sector fell significantly between the 2012 and 2015 CVS. The latest estimate of 4.7 million incidents shows a statistically significant drop when compared with the 2012 CVS estimate of 7.7 million incidents. This fall appears to be largely driven by a decrease in the number of thefts (down by a recorded 2.3 million incidents).