There are many reasons why drivers fail to pay for fuel, either a genuine mistake or deliberate act. During the last 12 months forecourt retailers have been taking on more responsibility to help tackle forecourt crime and in particular Drive-Offs. Greater involvement has been necessary because police forces, whose budgets and resources are still under intense pressure, need our help.
There is no doubt that there has been a steady rise in the number of incidents of forecourt crime, as evidenced by the rise in the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index from 100 in 2015 to 173 in the second quarter of 2019.
In 2010 research from BOSS established that forecourt crime costs retailers more than £30 million annually; two thirds of crime result from Drive- Offs with the remainder coming from No Means of Payment (NMoP) incidents.
However, anecdotal evidence and current BOSS data suggests losses could be much higher as many incidents still go unreported and fuel prices have risen. As a result, this is an area that BOSS is reviewing and we intend to review and update the results of the 2010 research.
Our members acknowledge that Drive-Offs are difficult to deal with and some retailers recognise they may not have the information required by the police in order to investigate an incident. BOSS has worked hard over the years to develop solutions which we know can help retailers capture information about incidents and help police to tackle this type of crime more efficiently.
Part of our response has been to extend the reach of the BOSS Payment Watch initiative. After extensive trials the new service now allows Drive-Offs and NMoP to be recorded and actioned via a new digital platform.
The results indicate a reduction of over 80% in demand on police resources and if applied across the UK it could save police forces nearly one million resource hours per annum. It could also release officers to carry out investigations into more serious incidents and community crime prevention initiatives. It is with help from the new initiative that BOSS has been awarded the ‘Specialised Security Organisation of the Year’ at the Innovation and Excellence Awards 2019
As our new approach spreads across the country it becomes more important for the retail fuel sector to continue to accept that retailers have a responsibility to ensure that ,where incidents do take place, the correct evidence is collected and retained. Without clear evidence, steps can’t be taken to either correct mistakes or proactively pursue fraudulent and criminal actions that deprive forecourt retailers of their rightful proceeds.
BOSS Executive Director
Featured in Forecourt Trader magazine
14 October 2019