Police intelligence unit will target plant theft

Two new initiatives have been unveiled to crack down on plant. The moves, announced at the recent CITS conference, include the setting up of a hi-tech National Plant Intelligence Unit and operation Crassus – a two-week UK-wide purge on checking plant movements.

Apr 10, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Two new initiatives have been unveiled to crack down on plant. The moves, announced at the recent CITS conference, include the setting up of a hi-tech National Plant Intelligence Unit and operation Crassus – a two-week UK-wide purge on checking plant movements.

A central plant unit has long been called for with a database to collate information on plant theft, currently held separately by each police region, to form a UK-wide picture of the problem in order to identify and target the criminal gangs behind the thefts.

The unit will consist of two police officers and a civilian statistician and will act as a central information source on plant matters for police officers throughout the UK. It is expected to be operational in a few weeks.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur told delegates: “Thefts are well planned and organised and the machine can be working on another site before it is even reported as stolen.” He said plant theft may be global, but the criminals and victims are local and the amount of money involved was “staggering”.

Funding for the new unit has been raised by a donation for each machine registered in the Construction Equipment, Security And Registration (Cesar) scheme, and a two-year sponsorship by five of the leading plant insurers.

As the number of machines being Cesar registered each year rises, the money from the scheme will replace the insurance funding.

Operation Crassus will take place from April 26 to May 11, during which traffic police across the UK will stop and question drivers moving plant, with a particular concentration around major ports.

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