Protect Yourself Against Crime

12 February 2019

In January 2019, there were a staggering twelve (12) thefts of plant and machinery on construction sites across the UK – one every three days. This recent spike in crime has caused the CPA to send all members the following documentation to help protect sites:

General Advice Leaflet.

Survey Equipment Advice Leaflet.

Notification Form.

All completed forms must be sent to PANIU, which is then circulated to other police forces and may help recover the stolen equipment.

Stopping Crime

Completely stopping crime is futile. The value of equipment on a construction site makes it a hotbed for criminal gangs to attempt a break-in, regardless of whether they are successful. We can, however, do our utmost to limit the rate at which robberies are successfully attempted.

The majority of storage sites may need to be upgraded if the industry is to deter criminal gangs. We’ve now entered an era in which roller shutters, standard CCTV systems, and anti-ram bollards will not be enough to stop a person from breaking into your site.

Some organisations have had to upgrade their CCTV to allow security guards to remotely monitor the site, as well as being able to challenge intruders with verbal warnings played over the speaker system.

Other actions also taken could include the installation of bigger and higher anti-ram bollards, concrete cages for small equipment, and placing steel gates behind shutters to provide additional reinforcements.

Trends in Crime

Being able to protect your site not only includes installing or reinforcing protection equipment, but also looking at, and understanding, trends.

Throughout January, the plant stolen has been between 1 tonne and 8 tonnes in size, with the majority of machinery being less than one year old.

If you are operating a construction site with brand new machinery, then it would be advisable to upgrade your security systems to ensure you’re not a victim of crime. Crime not only costs you money in terms of the equipment, but also replacing and repair costs could eliminate your entire profit margin.

Crime is becoming more sophisticated. Gangs are utilising new technology, new ways of taking a person’s hard-earned money, and smash and grabs are only part of the threat.

The Threat of Data

Data, misuse and stolen, are now becoming a big part of the criminal activity seen within the construction industry.

A report commissioned by the CIOB in 2016 presented the following statistics on the misuse of data in the construction industry:

  • 22% of respondents experienced data loss/theft on a monthly basis.
  • 14% of respondents experience the theft or interference of IT and security systems.

The sample comprised 1,100 people within the construction industry, 65% of whom described themselves as management.

If this report was recommissioned today, those percentages would be expected to increase due to the rise in cyber-crime and cyber security in society.

The report showed that 9% of companies lost over £100,000 per year. The cost of crime generally varies depending on company size as bigger companies experience higher losses. Crime impacts all businesses and a few organisations have had to close their doors due to having insufficient funds to protect themselves from acts of crime.

The construction industry suffers a substantial financial loss each year due to crime, not only due to criminals stealing plant and machinery, but also because of general fly tipping. Local councils, the police, and construction companies must work together if we are to reduce crime.