Construction sites today are witnessing an increase in criminal activity such as fly-tipping, plant and material theft, costing the industry over £800m per year in the UK alone. CEO, Brian Berry from the Federation of Master Builders, stated: “More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves…”
To help combat this increasing problem, police have now established a dedicated Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) specialist police unit which will be managed and operated within Opal, the national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime (SOAC).
The ACE national intelligence hub team will work closely with the industry, developing positive working relationships to support and promote schemes such as CESAR to prevent theft and maximise the recovery of stolen equipment.
Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, NPCC lead for Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime said: “This is a really positive move to improve the response of UK policing in tackling the organised theft of plant and agricultural equipment. The investment will help develop a detailed intelligence picture which will support forces in reducing criminality in this area.”
While we certainly agree that this is a very positive move for the industry, construction site owners have a duty of responsibility to minimise security risks wherever possible, as even tool thefts can often bring production to a complete halt. In this blog, we will be looking at some of the more common security issues and how site managers can help to reduce criminal activity.
Fly-tipping is a common occurrence usually committed by groups of opportunistic individuals. Fly-tipping is defined as “the illegal deposit of any waste on to land that does not have a license to accept it”. During 2018/2019, according to the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs there were 1,072,000 incidents in the UK alone, which was an increase of 8% from the previous year. To help combat this problem, consider the following –
- Try to restrict access to your land by installing gates or physical barriers (strategically placed earth mounds, tree trunks, boulders etc.) to prevent access to the land.
- Make sure when erecting a barrier, that you are not permanently blocking a public right of way or critical access.
- Make sure gates are closed and, if possible, locked when not in use.
- Install or improve lighting to create better visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view. Fly-tippers prefer to operate out of sight.
- Place appropriate deterrent signage and CCTV cameras to ensure that fly-tippers are aware of the enhanced security. An effective deterrent is certainly the best course of action where possible.
- Swiftly clear any waste that is dumped to remove any encouragement for others to add to it.
Metal theft has been an ongoing issue for many land and property owners, with huge financial risks for those involved. Aside from the initial value of materials, metal theft often has a serious knock-on effect for construction projects, which can cost significantly more than the metal is worth in downtime and lost progression. To help prevent this problem, consider the following –
- Try to keep all valuable metal or other materials in a designated area that is fully secured by a perimeter, has effective lighting and preferably CCTV security. Smaller items such as hand tools and other items can be easily locked up and put out of the way.
- Keep trespassers and potential thieves from getting a clear view of the equipment and materials you keep on-site by using privacy fencing. Even temporary fencing can deter crimes of opportunity.
- Use signage to clearly mark where the build site begins and ends, just to make sure no one ‘accidentally’ trespasses on your site.
- Ensure that your team know to report suspicious behaviour and be sure to alert the local authorities for any such activities. Prevention is definitely the best course of action where possible.
Plant theft is becoming increasingly common, with many reports of significant high-value losses, usually once the site has shut down for the day. Site managers can help minimise the risk by taking the following approach –
- Be aware of what location you are working in and what assets during your construction project will be at the highest risk. Theft and abuse rates vary from location to location, as do the specific types of equipment that are targeted.
- Keep accurate records of all plant equipment on site and delegate somebody to be responsible for it. This detailed information will increase your odds of recovery in the event of your equipment being stolen.
- Consider new technologies such as GPS tracking, remote immobilisors or DNA tagging to maximise the chance of your plant being retrieved by authorities.
- Always ensure that plant is kept in a location that is difficult for the public to access. Thieves will often target sites that offer easy accessibility for their vehicles to tow or remove plant. Also consider perimeter protection and CCTV systems.
Simply put, the more security measures in place, the less chance that thieves will even bother to target your site and will usually move onto a less secure premises. We offer a range of solutions designed to help site managers protect their assets, whilst also complying with insurance requirements. These services include –
- Manned guarding services
- Alarm systems
- CCTV towers
- Perimeter fencing
- Security signage
- Fly-tipping removal and prevention services
We’re here to help
We hope that this information has been useful. When performing site assessments, we will always take individual site factors into consideration, and based on these, work with our customers to provide practical, cost-effective solutions. By providing a one stop shop of security options for our customers, we can make the process even easier and reduce costs further with a package of options.
If you would like to discuss this with our team, then simply get in touch and we will be happy to supply more information, arrange a free site assessment or simply have a quick chat.
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