A NEW service which offers free expert support and guidance to Tamworth businesses who are victims of crime will be launched on Monday, 26 January.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis has commissioned the Business Crime Matters strategy to help beat business crime and promote economic growth.
His deputy, PCC Sue Arnold, is spearheading the new Business Crime Advisor service which will be launched in January, backed by Staffordshire Police.
Business Crime Advisors will be available to all local firms across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent whether they report the crime to police or not. They will offer victims specialist and confidential support in areas such as security, insurance, ICT recovery and reputational damage.
A new dedicated website – www.businesscrimematters.com – containing full contact details is now live. From Monday, 26 January, businesses will be able to contact advisors by ringing a special helpline on 01782 900239.
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce will run the service after successfully bidding for the initial six-month contract.
Mrs Arnold said: “Businesses are the lifeblood of local communities across Staffordshire but times are tough for small retailers and being a victim or robbery, theft, vandalism or online fraud can be enough to drive them into the ground.
”Business Crime Advisors will provide expert support and guidance to businesses who are victims of crime – whether the crime is reported to police or not.
“Nationally, over a third of businesses fail to report crime. We want to change this in Staffordshire by making sure that business crime is taken seriously. This is about leading the way nationally in giving businesses the support they need, building confidence in the local business community and promoting economic growth.
“I’m delighted that Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce will be running this service, using the extensive business expertise and networks they have throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Chief Superintendent Jeff Moore said: “Businesses who are victims of crime will be signposted to the service so that they have the opportunity to self refer to the scheme. A dedicated website is also in place to provide information. The scheme recognises that businesses may need different support in order to recover.”
Businesses who are victims of crime will be signposted to the self-referral service by police contact centre staff and officers. Business Crime Advisors will be available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce provides advice and support to thousands of businesses across the county, from micro firms to large multi-national companies, and across all business sectors.
Deputy Chief Executive Jane Gratton said: “Crime against business can result in a loss of productivity, staff morale and profitability. Sadly, in some cases, crime leads to business failure and job losses. So it is vital that we help business victims of crime to continue to trade and support them to reduce the cost and impact of that crime. Business Crime Advisors will offer advice, information and signposting to specialist services, not only to help the firm deal with the immediate crime, but also to help build resilience against any future incident.”
The service will run until 31 August when it will be reviewed as part of ongoing plans for a wider Victims Gateway in Staffordshire.