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Crime and Priorities

At our most recent Business Breakfast Club, we had the privilege of listening to Doncaster’s most senior policeman, Chief Superintendent Ian Proffitt.

Ian explained the structure of the local force, its priorities and responses in what delegates agreed was one of the most interesting events of recent years.

Doncaster, like all cities, has its challenges: a night-time economy, proximity to the motorway network, theft of curtain-siders, a raft of vulnerable adults and children, and organised crime to mention just a few. What is apparent is the police tackle these issues with an intelligence led approach. Our borough currently has eighteen organised crime gangs; some are armed and most are involved in drugs. The intelligence is too detailed to mention here but is impressive.



This proactive approach sees scarce resources employed effectively but there is a downside in that response times to individual incidents can be disappointing. The irony here is that the business and the public want to see a highly visible and responsive force and yet such an approach would be far less effective than the current approach. Having both would of course be ideal, but again the police locally have 17% of vacancies un-filled. It’s a familiar problem across nearly all business and public sectors.

And the relevance of all this to insurance broking and risk management? Well, policing business crimes is perhaps not quite as high on the agenda as protecting vulnerable people and disrupting organised crime. Cyber-crime is a great example. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a police force in Doncaster to take action against hackers based in Brazil. In these circumstances it is about business being proactive. We have shouted from the rooftops about cyber crime in recent years. It is ever-present and can be extremely damaging. There are numerous misconceptions: people often say, “our data is in the cloud, we’re safe”. You’re not. It simply takes one member of staff to click on a wrong link and the hackers have access. We would of course recommend arranging insurance to tackle and mitigate the risk, but before you spend hard earned money on insurance premiums, spend a little more on risk management. Ask your IT consultants to audit your system. You may find you can make significant improvements at relatively low cost.

Of course, ‘traditional’ crime is still at play in our borough. Theft of 4x4s and SUVs are still a major issue. Insurers report over 75% of all vehicle thefts are Range Rovers and Land Rovers plus one or two other marques. You won’t be surprised to learn that technology is at play here. Devices are readily available to criminals that can be used to access and start vehicles. Insurers and the police are aware that some vehicles have fundamental design faults that leave them vulnerable to theft. That said, there are also devices, readily available on the market that alleviate these issues. As ever, the answer is a little proactive management of risk. If you have one of these vehicles, please contact us; we are not vehicle security experts by any means, but most insurers will provide advice on what can be done to better protect your vehicle.

Running a business, a charity or a public body is a constant challenge. Right now is no exception. “A stitch in time saves nine” is an expression my parents used. These days we prefer to say “proactive”…. however we might spell it.

By Ian Laycock FCII – Group CEO and Charted Insurance Broker

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