The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) published the report “Profile of HGV, Freight & Cargo crime across England & Wales 2022”, detailing a range of aspects from types of crime to varied methodologies and from locational analysis to direct and indirect costs to cargo owners and the economy overall.
he report and other NaVCIS Freight analysis estimated the value of losses across England and Wales in 2022 amounted to £66.6 million.
There were 4,995 HGV and cargo crime notifications received last year (with data on reports still coming in) and NaVCIS Freight participated in 284 arrests, supporting a further 43 crime operations involving this type of crime.
The unit’s work has in part been responsible for the reduction in the indirect cost to the national economy from an estimated £700 million in 2019 to £428 million in 2021.
This is still an alarmingly high level of loss despite the excellent work of the NaVCIS unit. Recognition by the UK Government of the need for action to combat such crime is welcomed and we are hopeful that the NaVCIS Freight Crime problem profile will instil some urgency into such action and elicit financial support
says Mike Yarwood, Managing Director, Loss Prevention at freight transport insurance specialist TT Club
Key conclusions outlined in the Freight Crime report are:
- Freight crime is committed by Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), prepared to travel hundreds of miles; highly skilled, determined and mobile criminals, aware of police tactics.
- This is a low risk and high reward crime, regrettably low on police priorities due to available resources.
- Supply sector under intense pressure from effects of crime, which causes disruption and delay, impacting the viability of companies, retention of staff, and investment in the UK.
- Lack of a central crime category or tag means crime largely hidden, lenient criminal justice outcomes following prosecutions and low priority for action by government.
- Lack of investment in infrastructure, particularly in improvement of parking security standards, to be sufficient to deter criminals.
- Direct public health risk may arise from stolen medicines and food stuffs.
What is more, DCI Brett Mallon, Head of unit at NaVCIS, believes that “investment in, and legislation surrounding secure parking is not the least of these. There are law enforcement and policing reforms regarding freight crime that are also urgently required and, of course through the recognition of the seriousness of the issue, a significant increase in resources as well.”
#1 Parking Recommendations
- All existing truck parking provision should be upgraded to ‘Secure’ standards, as ‘safe’ or non-certified sites provide little deterrent.
- Government agencies should support a single, robust UK parking standard that is to ‘secure’ level; with funding to help implement.
- Regulation and planning support should be provided by government.
- Provision of, or contributions towards, secure truck parking should be a requirement for any large new industrial/ commercial developments.
- All new parking site developments should be required to meet secure standards.
#2 General recommendations
- Creation of an NPCC lead for Freight crime.
- Designate in law enforcement an agency/force to lead on Freight Crime, with appropriate funding for continuity of effort.
- Acceptance of a UK Policing definition for Freight Crime (we propose NaVCIS definition).
- Home Office to create a new Freight Crime category OR Home Office to insist all UK police forces instigate a ‘#FreightCrime’ tag to existing crime categories, to allow comprehensive auditing of the crimes.
- Sentencing guidance to reflect Freight crime as an aggravating factor.
- NPCC and police forces to agree on minimum standards of investigation and crime recording.
- Forces with significant transport routes or infrastructure to have freight crime on their strategic assessment.
- Industry standards for Haulage Exchanges and registry of hauliers – to prevent common load frauds.