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Recent Facebook posts in groups local to me about the growing menace of overnight thefts from work vans took on more importance thanks to a press release I received for use in Cleanzine's sister publication, Kbzine. The release concerned a campaign aimed at stamping out tool theft from vans and the statistics left me aghast: 37% of us say we've fallen victim to this type of theft, while 65% know someone who has.
It occurred to me that it's not just tradespeople who'll be affected, since cleaners won't be emptying their vans of equipment and chemicals overnight, will they? I wondered how much is lost to our already tightly-run contracting teams through theft; not only thanks to missing equipment - which has to be replaced - and the resulting higher insurance premiums if claims are made, but also the inability to provide the contracted service because there's no equipment available to use.
Small business insurer, Simply Business, which protects over half a million clients, is calling on the Government to implement greater fines for those convicted of theft from work vans, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second-hand tools and equipment. It's launched a petition with the aim of attracting 100,000 signatures for the measures to be debated in Parliament: www.petition.parliament.uk
Some 60% of those surveyed believe there need to be greater sentences for thieves, while 55% believe there should be greater fines for those convicted; 28% reckon the sentence should be five years in prison and 5% believe a £10,000 fine should be imposed. Half of us also believe there should be greater funding for police and police presence on the streets, 32% want to see greater restrictions on the selling of second-hand tools, and a further 30% believe there should be more CCTV in place. In addition, 20% want to see more street lights installed to deter thieves.
Simply Business suggests that to thwart thieves, you and any employees try and park in busy, well-lit areas, preferably in view of a CCTV camera, with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence so it's difficult for them to be opened. And if you do become a victim, a record of the serial numbers of your equipment - which should be permanently and visibly marked with your company name and contact details, could well hamper a potential black market sale. It will also help dealings with your insurer and possibly even reunite you with your stolen goods.
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24th October 2019