Bob Forsyth – Business crime – the poor relation?

Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management
Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management

Bob Forsyth, the MD of MITIE TSM discusses business crime. Bob writes:

“There are some encouraging statistics around the fall in both the number and average cost of business crime, something which the business community welcomes.

“However I’m not sure businesses physically feel the decreased level of reported crime. In fact, a number of leaders feel that business crime is not a priority of the police and is a nuisance. This article is certainly not a criticism of the police service but instead a chance to highlight a wide spread feeling in the business community.

“I held a client forum recently where the topic of police support for business was discussed and it was evident that the consensus was that business crime was low on the agenda of the police. It is not that surprising when the police are stretched due to the challenging budget cuts in some areas thereby having to gear the resource more toward domestic crime and other high profile areas.

“Companies are reacting to the reduced support from the police by using consultants or employing their own specialist teams to respond to their internal issues and investigations in to fraud and other alleged crimes. I foresee this becoming a growing market for private companies picking up fringe areas where the police would have traditionally supported.

“Theft remains the most common crime committed against business, accounting for around three quarters of all crime. This highlights the need for a sound security strategy for loss prevention; particularly in the retail and supply chain sectors where there is an additional associated loss through lost opportunity for sales, and vulnerable and isolated locations and where intelligence has identified regional crime hotspots.

“Clients were also vocal around sectorised business crime liaison schemes to generate sector-based intelligence and analyse trends – a way of filling the void of reduced policing. The key to the success of initiatives like this is companies putting aside their fears of sharing information with competitors which can significantly hinder the effectiveness.

“Fraud and the insider threat is also a key issue, and as business leaders, we know that fraud isn’t a victimless crime. Security against arson and malicious damage is more straight-forward, but what measures are in place to deter pilferage through couriers, distribution centre workers or store employees; not to mention the threat of sensitive data removal which is why stringent vetting processes are essential.

“The drop in crime could be linked to economic recovery but the impact of the change in focus from the police still needs to be mitigated. And we must not forget that what appears to be low level petty business theft or vehicle damage can actually be related to more serious organised crime which is even more of a reason for this not to be ignored.

“There are also links between crime levels, having good standards and driving best practice behaviour i.e. creating a behavioural culture to reduce slips and trips can have a positive impact on the overall culture and lead to crime reduction.”

With over 17 years’ experience in the security industry, Bob is a proven achiever at a high level. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

Bob was promoted to the position of Managing Director of MITIE’s security business in April 2010 after several notable achievements since joining the company in 2004, including his win of the prestigious MITIE new business award.

Having successfully implemented the merger with Initial Security in the Southern region and developing a profitable part of the business, Bob has continuously worked towards expansion including the implementation of the response service, and has significantly contributed towards year on year growth. In June 2009, Bob initiated the launch of the business’ total security management ethos; to take an integrated risk-based approach to security, incorporating people, technology and consultancy services.

Bob continues to move the business forward and has delivered record EBITA profit. He has increased business retention and launched new services lines including lone worker, void secure, employee screening, and security risk and business resilience. Under his leadership, MITIE’s total security management business has grown into an organisation with a turnover in excess of £280m. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA).

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