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Capital anti-theft plan set for national rollout

PLANT Endorsement from clients will push plant owners to register their kit, say Metropolitan Police

THE METROPOLITAN Police's registration scheme for plant is set to become a requirement on many sites after its November launch following an agreement by a range of inf luential clients to support the anti-theft measure.

Met officer Ian Elliott, one of the main players driving the scheme with the cross-industry Plant Theft Action Group, said it was finding backing right across the construction industry and the Met had every expectation that registration would be rolled out across sites nationally.

He said: 'There have been schemes in the past that have not worked but this is not just another scheme. This has been well thought-through and it is getting backing across the industry. I can honestly say that no one I have approached has closed the door on it yet.'

The scheme is due to be launched to a national audience on November 29 at the Construction Industry Theft Scheme conference at JCB headquarters in Rocester.

Mr Elliott said discussions were under way with the Olympic Delivery Authority with a view to having a requirement written into all Olympic construction contracts that all plant is registered with the scheme. It will comprise a centrally held database and a set of decals with each machine's unique number prominently displayed.

He said London's local authorities had agreed in principle to make the scheme a requirement for firms working on its contracts. He added: 'With the authorities' backing, anyone who is digging holes in London would have to have their equipment registered.'

Although London will be the initial focus for the measures, Mr Elliot said he had every confidence that registration would be picked up by other police forces and local authorities around the country. The Met is also going to launch a specialist plant squad to crack down on theft in the capital.

Other inf luential bodies whose support is being sought include the Major Contractors Group, which has successfully imposed requirements across its subcontractors for safety and skills measures.

Mr Elliott said the fact that contractors and clients would be driving the requirement should override any apathy from owners of equipment.

While it is intended that manufacturers should provide the information and marking for newly produced machines as soon as possible after the launch of the scheme, the registration of machines currently in use in the field will be mainly the responsibility of hire companies.

Manufacturers' body the Construction Equipment Association has been approached to 'own' the scheme, with the data handling contract awarded by tender. The Plant Theft Action Group is due to announce the successful data handler in the next few weeks. It is thought that the cost of registering will be published at the same time.

CEA spokesman Tim Faithfull said: 'We are looking at how we would encourage people who are not on the big sites to register and we are looking carefully at how the registration documents are delivered.

'It is no good just posting the decals and hoping that the user will put them on the right machine. If the wrong number is put on, the database will not match up.'

Another well-placed security source added: 'This scheme won't stop plant theft altogether, since much stolen equipment is likely to have all the identifying marks removed, but it will improve the t raceability of used equipment.'