Many businesses in the West Midlands have lost ‘full confidence’ in the police because of crime on the High Street, says Staffordshire’s deputy police and crime commissioner.

Sue Arnold says faith must be restored to the business community after data showed that two out of five businesses nationally do not bother to report crime to police.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire has now launched a new Business Crime Matters strategy spearheaded by Mrs Arnold, herself a former president of Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs Arnold was invited to speak about the strategy at Crimestoppers’ Midlands regional conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, which brought together law enforcement agencies, commercial organisations, Neighbourhood Watch and others.

Mrs Arnold told the event that the total price tag of burglary, shoplifting, robbery, criminal damage, theft and other offences against businesses in Staffordshire alone is estimated at around £7,300 per hour, with a £64 million yearly cost to businesses.

The 2010 West Midlands Business Crime Forum report by Forensic Pathways Ltd makes harrowing reading. Statistics for the four Midland police forces show 995,112 crimes were reported against businesses from 2002-09, with the cost a staggering £26,330 per hour and a yearly toll on firms of £230m.

She said: “Sadly, business people have lost full confidence in the police because of the way crime in the high street, and on trading estates, is now perceived. Faith must be restored.

“Businesses are the lifeblood of local communities. But times are tough for small businesses and being a victim of robbery, theft, vandalism or online fraud can be enough to drive them into the ground.

“It was fantastic to be able to talk at the conference about the exciting plans we have for a new approach that treats business crime seriously so that victims are not forgotten.

“It’s about improving support for business owners, making sure they get the best possible service and improving their confidence.”