NaVCIS Freight- Media Backgrounder
Based at the College of Policing near Coventry, the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) gathers vehicle crime intelligence from all UK police forces and European law enforcement agencies.
That intelligence, be it theft of high performance cars or particular plant machinery helps law enforcement to track emerging criminal trends and put the right resources in place to stop them. Now, with private funding support, NaVCIS have recently set up a full time ‘Freight Desk’. As the name suggests, it specifically targets crime that effects the road haulage and freight transport industry in the UK.
Recent data from Freight Watch International has dramatically revealed that the UK is the third worst place in the Europe for cargo theft - even higher than Italy, where thefts are often attributed to Mafia gangs. It is of little comfort, that the UK still sits below the current hotspots of Netherlands and Germany.
The FWI have released their 2014 annual review covering incidents of cargo theft. For the UK it shows a significant year-on-year increase of >39%. Their figures do not reflect the crimes reported to all of the combined law enforcement agencies, and so the underlying trend could be even higher. The FWI study illustrates, as expected, that the most frequently reported crime, are thefts from a trailer: equating to 56% of reports.
The most vulnerable situations are overnight stops at unsecured truck parks, lay bys and motorway services. Here, a truck's "curtain sides" may be cut, or rear Container doors forced open...often during the drivers rest period in the cab.
Easily disposable consumer goods are always a favoured target and can be very lucrative. Recent high-profile thefts from lay bys on the A14 from Felixstowe to the Catthorpe M1/M6 interchange reported thieves taking £62,000 worth of TV’s on one occasion and £66,000 worth of fashion clothing on another.
So, that’s the scale of the problem and what are the police doing about it? An example of how "joined-up" policing can succeed was when the Central Motorway Police arrested and charged an 11 strong Romanian gang after intelligence analysis promoted a swoop at Keele Services on the M6. European intelligence agencies had highlighted an audacious way of attacking Hauliers - whereby thieves prepared their own transport by cutting a roof access to clamber out of. They would then target, and very closely follow, moving trucks on the road (remaining within the truck driver's blind spot) Once within a stable matching speed, the offenders would climb out and over their own vehicle, to open up Truck doors by hand or, using portable power tools - sometimes attacking the Truck's roof area. Once they had gained some form of entry, they would throw out their contraband to their own van. This may be a daring example, but it demonstrates how criminal encroachment on freight, will develop into ever more creative methods.
Detective Sergeant Mark Colley told us: "...the launch of NaVCIS Freight was a great opportunity for us to work with the industry to reduce freight crime". NaVCIS offer an Intelligence Bulletin service to directly inform legitimate Road Haulage and Freight Transportation operators and Industry members can sign up for this by contacting the Freight Desk via the website www.navcis.police.uk. You can also follow them on Twitter: #NaVCIS_UK for regular public bulletins.