What to do when your business is a victim of crime is something we don’t like to think about or indeed prepare for. However, in today’s society, it is sadly a necessity.
The likes of assault, larceny and corporate crime represent serious risks to any organisation. With the latter being responsible for up to $600 billion a year being stolen through criminal acts.
So if your company falls victim to a crime, it is important to know what to do.
Some business owners might prefer to write it off as misfortune. While others may not want to waste police time on something they deem to be trivial or see little chance of there being a conviction for.
However, there are some very compelling reasons why you should report any crime that happens against your company to the authorities.
In this article, we will explain what they are, in addition to what the process is for doing so.
It is your legal responsibility
First things first, both as an employer and under common law, all business owners have a legal obligation to report a crime to the police.
Granted, hardly anyone gets charged or prosecuted for not doing this. Nonetheless, it is worth being aware that you are legally required to do so.
Furthermore, as a business owner or an employer, you also have a responsibility to report a crime as a duty of care to your staff, customers, third-party suppliers and stakeholders.
This is to reassure them and ensure they can conduct their roles and responsibilities in a safe workspace.
You better protect your business
Another reason to report a crime against your business to the authorities is that you end up better protecting it.
This protection generally takes the form of safeguarding against serious events like terminating a staff member for gross misconduct because of the crime.
Failure to inform the police of the crime means you will not be able to use it as grounds for dismissal, should you want to do so.
Reporting the crime to the police also hands the responsibility of dealing with it to them. In turn, this means if another party or institution express concerns or asks questions about the incident, you can justifiably tell them it is in the hands of the police.
Reporting the crime to authorities
If you are the victim of a crime or believe one has been committed against your business, you should report it to the police immediately.
To do this, you can either telephone (not 000 – unless a violent crime is in progress) or visit your local police station and inform them of what occurred.
When talking to them, the police will issue you with an event number and listen to your version of what happened. This event number is of the utmost importance as it provides you with proof that you have met your legal obligation in reporting the crime.
Ultimately, the police will make a final decision on whether to investigate and initiate a prosecution. This might not be a quick process and may take several days, weeks or even months.
Let the police get on with their job
Once you have reported the crime to the police, you need to let them get on with the job of conducting an investigation should they wish to do so.
Under no circumstances should you try and investigate the crime yourself. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in potential danger.
You also do not want to tip off the person who committed the crime, who then might set about trying to destroy evidence or your company’s reputation with false counterclaims.
Once you have informed the police of the crime, be sure to ask them to let you know of their intention to investigate or drop the matter.
Should they decide to drop it, you would be entitled to launch an investigation yourself – often via a private investigator.
Contact your lawyer
If the police decide to investigate the crime and this leads to a prosecution, you will need to procure yourself an experienced law firm.
Try to find one like LY Lawyers, who have extensive experience throughout Australia in representing companies who have been the victim of crimes like larceny.
As the business owner, you may even want to exercise the right to enforce some kind of reprimand or consequences upon an individual you suspect of committing an offence against your business.
Again, a good law firm will be able to advise you accordingly of your all rights and options with regards to punitive actions.