Freight crime costs the UK economy at least £250 million each year – and that figure is only drawn from the reported crimes; the actual loss is probably much higher.
If your business has been affected, it’s not only the financial loss that hurts – though that can potentially put smaller companies out of business – the disruption to your operation and drivers is huge.
Of course freight crime comes in a variety of forms, from cyber-crime and inside jobs to armed robberies and opportunistic trailer theft. Criminals will often target vulnerable vehicles with valuable loads.
So how can you protect your company’s lorries, trailers and plant equipment? Not to mention keeping your employees safe? The Freight Transport Association offers a number of tips:
- Remove keys and lock vehicle door while the vehicle is unattended
- Drive with the doors locked – thieves may try to enter the vehicle when it’s stationary
- Park overnight at approved location, avoiding dark isolated places if possible
- Be alert for “distraction” crime – e.g. other drivers stopping you for supposed punctures, accidents, insecure rear doors, asking for directions etc.
- Criminals have been known to steal uniforms and stage a trap, posing as bogus officials to stop or redirect vehicles, or to ask drivers to get out of the cab. If a driver’s suspicions are aroused, he should ask for the officer’s full details and confirm their identity before complying with their instructions
- Keep documentation about your load out of sight and don’t discuss your load or your destination with others
- Don’t leave your cab if you realise a theft from your vehicle is going on. Lock the doors, start the engine, switch on the lights and sound the horn to attract attention.
- Always check for signs of tampering when you return to your vehicle.
The Home Office offers more extensive advice in their leaflet, Lorry Crime Prevention, which both drivers and managers will find helpful.
Advice for managers
Freight crime doesn’t just happen on the road. Assess risks that can be managed in the warehouse and the yard, too. Unfortunately, employees can be a major source of theft. Interview staff carefully and if you take on agency drivers during busy periods, be extra vigilant about security procedures.
For HGVs and trailers
When all’s said and done, there’s only so much your drivers and managers can do to mitigate the risks of freight crime. Fitting a tracking device to your HGVs and trailers gives you solid, real-time data showing where your vehicle is, what your driver is doing and in the worst case scenario, helps you to recover your vehicle if it’s stolen.
Tracking devices let you know if your HGV has unexpectedly gone off-route, if your driver has made an unscheduled stop or is stationary for longer than usual. All these warnings can tip you off to a potential incident.
With free trials, free installation and zero up-front costs, Track King helps businesses protect their freight vehicles from crime.
Call 08081 261516 for expert advice.