Forecourt Trader
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Kevin Eastwood: executive director, BOSS
Published:  08 October, 2018

On more than one occasion during the past three months, BOSS has been told by senior police officers that they are keen to have much closer links with forecourt retailers as there are often clear links to more serious incidents. Forecourt crime tends to involve a high number of incidents which are low in individual value. It soaks up manpower and, in an era where resources are under immense pressure, better working relationships can improve safety, save time and reduce losses for fuel retailers.

Police forces that embrace a strategy of improved partnership working can see the reward in tackling crime and reducing pressure on their resources. Retailers reap the reward of fewer incidents, but to secure these benefits it is vital that forecourt retailers play their part. Expecting your local police to act as your debt collector or a security guard is just not viable.

Ensuring that your forecourt staff have the right skills and the proper resources to identify and deter potential incidents from taking place is also critical. If staff don't have these skills then they should receive appropriate training.

BOSS research has found that forecourt crime costs retailers, on average, more than £3,000 per site each year. If there is no strategy to deal with it, persistent offenders who keep driving off without paying or claiming to have no means of payment, then losses will begin to mount up.

With the right information, BOSS will pursue vehicles' registered keepers. We can then take steps to recover a debt and seek police action where criminal activity can be proved. During the past 12 months BOSS has yet again recovered, and returned, more than £1m directly to BOSS members. Additionally, BOSS's partnership with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, continues to bring offenders before the courts.

We would encourage forecourt retailers to redouble their efforts and make sure that their staff follow correct procedures when taking payments, and gather the right information should a customer not have the means to pay or drives away without paying. By working together, the fight against forecourt crime can continue to succeed.