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Car crime ‘on verge of being decriminalised’

The policing watchdog carried out an inspection of police forces in England and Wales, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and found that victims of high-volume offences were asked questions by call-handlers to assess the likelihood of their crime being solved.

Inspector of Constabulary Roger Baker, who led the inspection, said: ‘It's more a mindset, that we no longer deal with these things. And effectively what's happened is a number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised.’

He added: ‘So it's not the fault of the individual staff, it's a mindset thing that's crept in to policing to say “we've almost given up”.’ 

In response, the BVRLA has said that the rental industry wants tougher action on vehicle crime, highlighting that 1,500 rental vehicles are stolen each year from the 400k-strong UK vehicle rental industry fleet despite operators undertaking rigorous training of frontline staff and share access to an industry-wide database of “problem renters”.

‘Vehicle theft or fraud is one of the biggest problems facing the rental industry, but our members are largely being left to fend for themselves,’ said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney.

‘We need police forces to take cases of vehicle crime seriously and adopt a much more ‘joined-up’ approach to working with other constabularies.’

The BVRLA has developed its own Stolen Vehicle Reporting Guidelines to help members report thefts and ensure that police forces are provided with the right evidence and information to conduct an investigation.

The organsiation added that the Association of Chief Police Officers and forces up and down the country have been made aware of this information, but it is falling between the cracks as more and more crime-reporting and administrative functions are outsourced.

‘Rental companies are not time-wasters – they know when a vehicle has been stolen and are prepared to work closely with police to solve these crimes,’ Keaney added. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.