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Truck Meet

by msecadm4921

From the December issue of Professional Security magazine.

Hauliers’ crime problems
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) security exhibition had a new format and venue, but the crime problems facing hauliers remain the same. Mark Rowe reports.

What are the crime problems facing hauliers? Tony Allen, head of the RHA’s security committee, replied: a lack of secure parking. As he added, that is not new; he mentioned it from the platform at the last RHA security event, a year ago. A parked box trailer, or a lorry loaded and waiting to go because the driver has run out of hours and has by law to rest – it’s almost, Tony Allen said, like flying a flag to criminals to ‘come and get it’: “And it isn’t rocket science; this is just basic crime prevention measures. Unfortunately most councils look at a lorry park in the same fashion as they look at a gypsy site; they don’t want them.” There are some initiatives: at Brackmills industrial estate near Northampton, for example, there are moves to set up a secure lorry park, paid for by businesses on the estate. With that Tony Allen went into a meeting of Truckpol, the north London based Metropolitan Police unit that collects intelligence on truck crime. It offers alerts on thefts, recoveries and criminals’ methods (such as bogus police); and advice (download at www.truckpol.com quarterly reports, and security advice for drivers in European languages from Turkish to Latvian).

Past and present

The event, at the Ricoh Arena, the Coventry City Football Club stadium, had exhibitors who gave presentations. Previous events had industry and police speakers; indeed, a feature of past events had been the gradual fading of verbal fisticuffs between hauliers feeling let down by police and police in their defence suggesting that some hauliers were not doing all they could to secure their assets. Mike Farmer, west and Midlands director for the RHA, alluded to this when introducing the product presentations. Crime was high on the haulier agenda, he said – while not as high as the price of fuel. Mike Farmer said: “I will happily have a go at the police if it is felt that they aren’t doing all they can; but equally will have a good at [RHA] members because they have to do their job to ensure there is as much security as possible for their lorries and their lorry-loads.” Presentations followed by Protekdor; Truckprotect; Electronic Tracking Systems; Security Blinds; vehicle alarm and locks firm Maple Group, Advanced Security Design; TISS Trailer Security Ltd; Police5 Technologies; Imexpart; Essex-based investigators Richmond Day & Wilson; Globallive; Safeguard Technology; Top Dog Security; Colsim; and Qinetiq.

Diesel theft

Russell Fowler, chief executive of TruckProtect, asked: if retail sector shrinkage is three per cent, why is haulage any different? Siphoning of diesel – and given rising fuel prices, a truck’s tank of diesel costs hundreds of pounds – is not only by agency drivers and intruders. Hence the company’s Neck-It product, an aluminium seal that requires no drilling, glue or piercing; and it can transfer to another vehicle.

Dog and handler

Other anti-siphoning products were on display. The exhibition had a range of security in one room, from the remote monitoring of Guide Security Services (the former security arm of Blackburn steel firm Walker Group) to Essex-based Top Dog Security’s handlers and dogs (a spaniel was at the stand). Chief trainer Andy Pescott, who does work at east London venue ExCel, was eight years in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and 12 years in Sussex Police; last year he was in Baghdad, doing explosive search work. Other Top Dog men – who have police and armed forces backgrounds – have worked in Africa tackling the ivory trade; and in the Balkans, searching for mass graves after the recent wars. While the firm does work for retailers; and functions and venues; it works with hauliers at warehouses and transit points to deter crime, and detect everything from stashed drugs to illegal immigrants, explosives, even illegally imported wildlife. As Andy Pescott said, a human search of a site could take a week – and would staff know what they are looking for? A dog can indicate a suspect person or thing, subtly, and the handler can draw the dog back and a security team can act on that awareness.

Staff screening

Steve Cox, director of Winchester-based Security and Vetting Solutions, offers pre-employment screening; and an identity card printing and accessories bureau. As someone who has worked in the transport sector, he spoke of the common feeling that screening takes too long and costs too much. Neither is true, he said; in five days you can have a provisional check – bearing in mind that generally truckers give one week’s notice – and in 20 working days a written check.
Among exhibitors was the Airfreight Industry Minimum Security Standards (AIMSS) based at Heathrow Airport: www.aimss.info

The RHA website offers a guide to secure lorry parking.

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