By Daniel Hunter

Nearly two thirds of small businesses in the Greater Manhcester & North Cheshire area believe that the police overlook crimes against small businesse, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB surveyed small business owners in the area and asked the question, ‘do you feel business crime is often overlooked by the police?’, 64% said ‘yes’, 16% said ‘no’, while a further 20% indicated ‘unsure’.

The same survey revealed while just over half of small businesses (53%) had not been victims of crime in the last 24 months, 38% had been between one and three times; 3% between 4 and 5 times, and 5% six times or more. Of those victims, 57% said they always reported the crime to police, 29% said they never did, and 14% cited some but not all incidents were logged with officers.

The study also looked at the way police dealt with logged incidents, asking respondents if officers ‘responded appropriately, and in a timely fashion’? Answering this question, 40% indicated ‘yes’, 35% ‘no’, and 25% said ‘sometimes’.

Simon Edmondson, FSB Regional Chair in Manchester & North Cheshire, said: “The perception of small business owners is the police too often overlook crimes against small firms, and could well explain why some businesses owners are now choosing not to report crimes, as our survey suggests. This needs to be addressed.

“The FSB urges all businesses to report crimes — however small or petty. Officers can’t tackle a crime problem if they don’t know about it. Failing to report a crime only benefits the criminals committing them, who are then free to carry on breaking the law.”

The FSB member survey also revealed business owners were largely against cuts to police budgets by the government. In total, 57% of survey respondents said the government should invest more on policing during the course of the next parliament, while 30% said spending should remain about the same. Only 13% thought police budgets should be reduced.

Mr Edmondson added: “Our members on the whole believe the government must invest more in policing over the course of the next parliament. The notion that investment in policing should be cut as part of ongoing austerity is clearly not popular with small business owners, who rely on a safe and stable environment in which to operate.”