Specialist training provided to frontline officers to combat threat of freight crime

The theft of goods from freight, cargo, heavy goods vehicles and shipping containers is having a serious impact on the UK economy, police figures have warned.

Last year, the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Unit (NaVCIS) received almost 3000 notifications of lorry, freight and cargo related thefts across the UK; totaling over £90 million.

In order to reduce the risk to the UK economy, NaVCIS and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) have held the first in a series of training days this year at BPW Limited, a leading parts manufacturer for trailers and semi-trailers.

The Truck and Trailer Identification and Freight Crime Awareness Training Day was attended by 25 specialist stolen vehicle examiners from police forces across the UK. The sessions were facilitated by subject matter experts from NaVCIS, the RHA and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in order to equip police officers with up-to-date knowledge and best practice when seeking to prevent and investigate lorry, freight, and cargo crime.

Lorry, freight and cargo crime includes thefts of consumer goods and products from Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) during ‘curtain side slashing’ – the act of cutting open the curtain side of the vehicle to access said goods. While other scenarios include shipping containers having locks broken as well as thefts of HGV tractor units and semi-trailers.

NaVCIS is a national police unit that works to combat the harm of vehicle finance crime. The unit’s work includes investigating reports of finance vehicle theft and fraud, preventing fraudulent applications for vehicle finance and tracking stolen vehicles including agriculture and plant, caravans and freight, and aid recovery.

As a unit, NaVCIS is responsible for gathering, researching, developing and disseminating intelligence linked to cargo, freight, and logistics-based crimes. The use of their established network of police contacts allows for the dissemination of fast and real-time intelligence for police forces and law enforcement to combat these acts of crime.

Mike Dawber, NaVCIS Field Intelligence Officer, said: “NaVCIS aims to prevent serious and organised crime which affects the supply chain of goods and materials across the UK and the world. We work closely with key stakeholders including the National Crime Agency, HMRC, Trading Standards and freight industry partners. These relationships allow NaVCIS to assist the identification of organised criminal gangs, aid the recovery of stolen property and reduce losses to the manufacturing, distribution and insurance sectors in the UK.”

Mike added: “We are currently assisting police with investigations and operations across the UK to enable officers to better understand the threat of freight crime. These officers are on the frontline, stopping vehicles and visiting industrial premises in the course of their duty. In running a number of training sessions for specially trained offers, we are providing a really important tool in the fight against cargo crime.”

The success of NaVCIS’ work with police forces was highlighted recently, after working in partnership with Suffolk Constabulary. A man was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for his role in the theft of £769,000 worth of games consoles from a HGV destined for the Port of Felixstowe.

If you have any information in relation to truck or freight related crime, contact: freight@navcis.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously with any Lorry Crime information: 0800 555 111

For more information: www.navcis.police.uk