Cargo Crime on the increase

As cargo crime rates rise, the Road Haulage Association is encouraging drivers and operators to report any suspicious behaviour. Hauliers forced to park outside of truck stops are frequently the target of criminals who attack drivers, damage vehicles and steal fuel or cargo. Commercial vehicle drivers are being urged to report anything suspicious when parked up to the police and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service.

The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) is a national police unit hosted by Hampshire Constabulary. NaVCIS operates independently, under the direction of the National Police Chief Councils’ vehicle crime section. They are 100% funded by industry under the provisions of the Police Act 1996. Supporting law enforcement partners by investigating reports of vehicle crime and providing specialist operational analysis, advice and support to UK police forces.

NaVCIS have reported that thousands of pounds of goods and fuel have been stolen with their latest update showed that, in 2021, there have been 738 HGV and cargo crime notifications. These have added up to a cost price loss of £13.9m, with the average cost price loss value per incident being to £17,752.

Road freight theft is not a new phenomenon. The RHA has long advocated for more safe and secure truck parking. It is wrong for drivers to be forced to park in ill-lit locations with no fence, no security lights, and, most importantly, no CCTV cameras to discourage thieves.

Remember, these aren’t just random or opportunist thieves as many of them work in organised crime gangs, which are often linked to broader networks, with a focus on the valuable and resaleable contents of an HGV.

Secure Parking

So, aside from drivers and others having a rigorous duty of care to make their loads as secure as possible in every way what else can be done? Obviously, safe and secure parking would be beneficial, particularly overnight for drivers on mandated breaks and rest periods.

The RHA believe that reclassifying certain offences would be beneficial as well. Offences involving violence are classed as “robbery,” and the police take them far more seriously. When no violence is involved, they are labelled as “theft from motor vehicle”. That implies fewer police investigations and less severe penalties for robbery criminals.

This, says RHA, is unacceptable, as lorry load theft deserves its own category. Without this, organised criminal groups will continue to see lorry load theft as an easy target, being low-risk and high reward with little possibility of detection.  The true extent and impact of cargo crime is distorted by a lack of reliable and consistent data, in part due to the low priority afforded to it in comparison to more high profile offences.

Insurance cover

Check your insurance cover. As a haulier or warehouse contractor, you are not only insuring the goods you carry or store – you are protecting your business against the liability you are exposed to under the Terms and Conditions under which you operate with your customers. It is important you have the correct policies in place with adequate goods in transit cover reflecting the value of the goods carried and that they are carried under trade body conditions of carriage.

If you rely on a trade bodies Conditions of Carriage within your Goods in Transit Insurance make sure the correct updated version of the CoC is quoted and you are actually a member of the trade body CoC that you are insured under otherwise that might invalidate your cover.