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Anti-theft group plans tough new measures

The plant industry plans to reduce plant theft through a combination of tougher self-imposed standards and closer collaboration with the police.
The Construction Industry Theft Scheme, a cross-industry group, called on hirers and contractors to sign up to a tough new code of practice.

The code includes fitting immobilisers to all operated equipment, licences for self-propelled plant, trackers for wheeled kit and painting equipment in company colours to deter theft.

Speaking at CITS' annual Plant Theft Forum, its chairman Mike Revell said: 'Any responsible company must have an anti-theft policy and that includes proper recording of all the equipment.'

He called on companies to deal only with manufacturers that agreed with the code of practice.

CITS also wants plant owners to register all their kit with the DVLA on a voluntary basis, so that police can check the database in the event of theft.

He said: 'The DVLA links into the Police National Computer, which every policeman is familiar with.'

Speakers at the forum exhorted construction companies to take more responsibility in their attitude to security.

Brian Morris, Laing O'Rourke's group security manager, said: 'We have got to get the message across to project managers, foremen and operators to overcome their negative attitudes to security.'

Mr Revell said: 'Companies need to identify who is responsible for keeping track of equipment.

'They need a standardised reporting procedure and recording of the location of the equipment. There should be regular auditing of security on sites and even penalties for non-compliance with security procedures.'

There were calls for closer collaboration with the police to clamp down on the organised criminal networks that steal the plant.

Detective Inspector Tim Godwin, of West Midlands Police, said: 'We need to strengthen partnerships and share ideas. We need effective analysis of the extent of plant theft because currently the police force has no standard means of registering the thefts.'

He added that the National Criminal Intelligence Service had been commissioned to do some initial research but said the construction industry needed to be more proactive.

Mr Godwin said: 'There is no reason why the police could not set up specialist plant operations or advisers, it just needs the approach and the investment to come from the industry. With six months and a small, dedicated team, you could do a good deal of intelligence gathering.'

He called for construction to vet its workers more carefully.

He said: 'Someone could steal a JCB today and get sacked for it, then start somewhere else tomorrow.'

by Andrew Gaved