reducing forecourt crime Tackling drive-offs and No means of payment



The latest Forecourt Crime Index from BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, has fallen for the first time since 2021, however, the average litres drawn in each incident increased leading to the cost per incident rising.

During Q4 2023 incidents of unpaid fuel decreased by 5.9% (Q3 2023: + 1.3 %) easing the Forecourt Crime Index in Q4 2023 to 244 (259: Q3 2023), returning the Index to the same level at Q3 2022.

Incidents of No Means of Payment (NMoP) were 10% lower than in the previous quarter, continuing the decline of recent months, and Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay (DOFP) saw a slight decline of 0.2%. During Q4 the average number of unpaid fuel incidents per site fell to 29.1 per site (30.9: Q3 2023) with NMoP incidents accounting for 59% of all Payment Watch reports.

However, the average cost of NMoP incidents increased to £69.49 (£64.79: Q3 2023), while the average cost of a DOFP incident increased to £52.51 per incident (£50.98: Q3 2023). Increases in the average cost of incidents occurred at a time when the cost of fuel began to fall to an average of 149.6 pence per litre (ppl) for unleaded fuel (153 ppl: Q3 2023). Fuel prices are now at pre-Ukraine invasion levels.

The average litres drawn in an NMoP incident increased to 43.24 in Q4 (42.02 litres: Q3 2023). Litres of fuel taken in DOFP incidents eased to an average of 34.32 litres per incident (33.54 litres: Q3 2023).

Bruce Nichol, operations director at BOSS, said: “The latest Forecourt Crime Index shows a new trend unfolding. While the volume of unpaid fuel incidents declined in the final quarter of 2023, a subtle change lurks beneath the surface – the average litres drawn in these incidents have increased.

“This increase has pushed the cost per NMoP incident upwards, signalling a nuanced challenge for some forecourt operators. The need for greater vigilance becomes clear and demands heightened awareness.

“As we navigate this evolving terrain, staying one step ahead is not just a choice but a necessity for those who seek resilience, to ensure that they have robust procedures, such as Payment Watch, in place to manage the recovery of money-owed effectively.”

Forecourt crime reduction guides that help forecourt retailers reduce incidents and keep forecourts safe places to work and shop are available from BOSS.

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