Car crime "becoming decriminalised", says report

Published 21 September 2014

An HM Inspectorate of Constabulary investigation has concluded that car crime is "on the verge of being decriminalised" because forces have "almost given up".

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has welcomed the report outlining the ‘postcode lottery’ of police enforcement and highlighting the lack of attention paid to car crime.

“Vehicle theft or fraud is one of the biggest problems facing the rental industry, but our members are largely being left to fend for themselves,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“We need police forces to take cases of vehicle crime seriously and adopt a much more ‘joined-up’ approach to working with other constabularies.”

The UK vehicle rental industry has a fleet of more than 400,000 cars, vans and trucks. Operators undertake training of frontline staff and share access to an industry-wide database of ‘problem renters’, but the sector still suffers an estimated 1,500 vehicle thefts each year. Vehicle rental operators are often targeted on a national basis by organised gangs.

The BVRLA has developed its own stolen vehicle reporting guidelines to help members report thefts and ensure that police forces are provided with the right evidence and information to conduct an investigation. The Association of Chief Police Officers and forces up and down the country have been made aware of this information, but it is falling between the cracks as more and more crime-reporting and administrative functions are outsourced.

“Rental companies are not time-wasters – they know when a vehicle has been stolen and are prepared to work closely with police to solve these crimes”, Keaney added. 

 

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