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West Midlands Police turn to tech to stop lorry-jackers

Date: 05/11/2012 11:35:27
Category: Fleet tracking
Author: Chris Taylor

Police forces across the West Midlands are looking to technology to help curb the rate of lorry-jackings in the region.

Bbc.co.uk reports that the one of the force's latest attempts to thwart the prevalence of fleet crime will see a specially-modified vehicle kitted out with over a dozen cameras and a silent alarm system.

"If a gang attacks the vehicle it'll set off a silent alarm to alert us," PC Steve Rounds, of the Central Motorway Police Group, explains. "We can look at and record the actions that go on and have teams deployed to arrest the offenders in the act."

The drastic moves come as the proliferation of lorry-jacking rockets in Staffordshire, West Mercia and the West Midlands. According to PC Rounds, criminals are increasingly finding fleet vehicles an easy target as they're often left alone with just one driver, operating off the beaten track.

The cost to the industry is great too, with many vehicles carrying loads worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Gavin Wright, who runs a Birmingham-based haulage company, had two of his fleet vehicles attacked within the space of a year, with great knock-on costs to his business.

"It's cost the company over £100,000 worth of contracts a year," said Mr Wright. "It's increased our insurance premiums by about 10 per cent and we've had to look in terms of driver training. The ultimate end user is the one that pays because transport costs obviously have to go up."

Fleet tracking systems could be another avenue that the police looks down in future, as PC Rounds says the force is increasingly looking to the cash-in-transit industry for inspiration from its security technologies.

According to figures produced by truckpol.com, a former police division dedicated to policing road freight crime, goods worth £25 million were stolen from lorries across the UK in 2010.

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