Firms trained up to recognise criminal exploitation

HMRC

Hauliers are being trained by the police to keep an eye out for criminal exploitation and vulnerability across counties in the Midlands.

‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ is a project that delivers bespoke training sessions to raise awareness of crime taking place across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Ram Aston, crime inspector at West Mercia police, said: “Haulage companies are the latest companies our exploitation and vulnerability trainers are working with to offer this fantastic training.

“Lorry drivers are on the road frequently and will be familiar with the main routes through our counties, they park up at service stations, laybys and overnight lorry parks and play an absolutely vital role in helping to tackle criminal exploitation and identifying vulnerability hotspots.

“We know criminals use our road network to commit crime, whether they’re travelling from other areas into our counties to commit crime, or trafficking children and young people to criminally exploit them.

“Lorry drivers are our eyes and ears, we want them to know the signs to look out for and if they see anything that seems out of the ordinary or suspicious we want to hear from them.”

So far, 20,645 frontline professionals working in licensed premises, hotels, education, post people, refuge collectors, social services, and for local authorities have received We Don’t Buy Crime’s exploitation and vulnerability training.

Hire firm sent to Coventry for compliance failings

HSE

A Coventry skip hire firm has been booted out of the industry after a traffic commissioner described its record of compliance as “dismal”.

Jordan Pointon, trading as JMP Waste & Transport Services, was also disqualified from holding or obtaining an O-licence for two years and disqualified from acting as a transport manager for three years.

Pointon held a standard international licence for the two HGVs and three trailers but a DVSA investigation in March raised concerns about the operation of his company.

It found Pointon was operating four vehicles regularly and there was a high MOT failure rate of 75% over the life of the licence.

In addition, safety inspection records showed missing inspections and there was no evidence of any brake tests, among a host of other issues.

At a public inquiry, Backhouse Jones solicitor Andrew Woolfall told West Midlands TC Nick Denton that Pointon accepted there had been many failings and that he had spread himself too thinly as maintainer, transport manager, operator and driver.

However, he now wanted to concentrate on a restricted licence for the company and he was bringing people into the company and contracting out maintenance.

Pointon said he fully accepted his failings, but had not been deliberate and were down to poor management and taking on too much.

In a written decision, TC Denton said: “I found little evidence that Mr Pointon had effected any real improvement since the DVSA report in March.

“His claim that he had introduced quarterly roller brake tests in January 2020 could not be substantiated by the documentary evidence, which showed only one such brake test across the fleet.

“The new maintenance contract with an outside provider had only recently been concluded.

“The RHA tachograph analysis had only been carried out at the end of August, a few days before the public inquiry.

“Refresher training had only recently been booked and had not yet taken place.”

He added: “Mr Pointon’s actual record of compliance is dismal: he has operated with little regard not only for maintenance procedures but also for drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, for the rules relating to the number of vehicles which he is authorised to operate and for laws relating to tax and MOT.”

The TC also refused an application by JMP Waste and Transport Services.