New ALERT platform to tackle construction and trade thefts

An ALERT platform aimed at tackling a rise in thefts from construction sites and fuel thefts is now live.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:06 am
The Construction Watch Scotland alert aims to enhance awareness between construction and trade industries.

The new ALERT platform seeks to enhance awareness between construction and trade industries, as well as police, to ensure intelligence relating to criminal or suspicious activity at one location is quickly provided to others along with prevention advice.

Construction Watch Scotland has been devised in partnership by Police Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.

It follows a rise in the thefts of plant equipment, tools and stored fuel and is supported by and supported by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Secured By Design and Crimestoppers.

In February 2022 alone, almost half a million pounds worth of equipment has been stolen across the country.

The most targeted areas being the North East of Scotland and The Lothians and Scottish Borders.

Last month, over £11,000 worth of stored fuel has been stolen.

The fuel thefts affect a wide range of people from individual’s families heating oil tanks to small businesses and those managing land and estates across Scotland.

Similar ALERT schemes are already in place to tackle other forms of acquisitive crime as part of Rural Watch Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.

Inspector Alan Dron from the National Rural & Acquisitive Crime Unit said: “We know that plant equipment, tools and fuel stores are often an attractive target for criminals, as they are of high value when selling on.

"Often site or vehicle security is breached during hours of darkness when there are very few potential witnesses, making it easier to make off with these items.

“The Construction Watch Scotland scheme allows those who are signed up to quickly be advised of offences or suspicious activity in their area, while recommending specific prevention measures that could be taken.

“Not only do we hope this will enhance our intelligence picture when investigating these incidents, but we are also looking to reduce the number of crimes occurring, with our ability to share information and make construction sites as uninviting as possible to serve as a deterrent.

“We’ve already seen the successful application of the ALERT platform through Rural Watch Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and I’m confident Construction Watch Scotland will be of similar value in addressing construction and trade acquisitive crime.”

A CCG Contracts Division spokesman, said: “Recently we had two youths enter a large project, having got past the security cameras and entering a flatted block under construction.

"They set fire to some waste material, which in turn, ended with the block being totally fire damaged resulting in an insurance cost of approximately £1Million.

"CCTV footage shows that they were in and out in just about five minutes.

"Thankfully, they have been convicted.

“It only takes a minute for these crimes to occur and the impact on companies like ourselves can be devastating.

"That’s why we openly welcome the introduction of the new ALERT platform.”