The Government is set to introduce a new scheme to help tackle fuel filling station crimes in the UK after growing concerns regarding drivers who fill up and drive away without paying. The initiative is being launched by the police in conjunction with major fuel retailers and suppliers.
In the 12 month period from September 2014 to September 2015, there was a total of 62,300 incidents. This represented a 10% leap from the previous 12 months and is estimated to have cost businesses across the UK a sum into the millions. In fact, the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) estimates industry losses from forecourt crime amounted to almost £22 million in 2014-15. This figure also only takes into account the direct loss in terms of the cost of the product itself, and not the administration and associated costs of taking action after the event.
Another situation that you may or may not have found yourself in is when drivers fill up and then discover they don’t have any means of paying for fuel. Whilst this mostly results in later payment, an estimated 25% of cases result in the employment of debt collection agencies to claim payment. This costs the industry an estimated further £9.7 million.
The new initiative will form a Steering Group on Forecourt Crime with the aim of providing a better flow of information between relevant groups and look at what works best in preventing the offence which is officially categorised under the Theft Act 1978.
Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said: “Theft from forecourts causes huge damage to businesses. This Government is committed to working with industry and police to tackle those crimes, and to limit the opportunities for offenders to commit them in the first place.
“We expect police forces to investigate all crimes, and we encourage retailers to report all crimes to improve understanding of the extent of the problem.”