Nottinghamshire Police offers truck crime lifeline

Nottinghamshire Police have offered a lifeline to hauliers in the fight against crime, with the decision to establish a specialist freight crime division under its National Business Crime Forum (NBCF).

A cross-sector initiative launched in October last year, the NBCF brings together representatives from the private sector, police forces, the Home Office and other key industry bodies in an attempt to tackle the impact of crime against businesses.

Sergeant Richard Stones is heading up the operation, and would like to firmly incorporate freight crime into the NBCF, providing a valuable police resource since the closure of TruckPol in March due to the withdrawal of government funding.

He is currently urging hauliers and police forces around the UK to forward any details of freight crime to Nottinghamshire Police, so as to ensure a continuous record of data is being kept.

Road Haulage Assocation (RHA) head of crime and security, Chrys Rampley, says it is a positive step for the industry that Nottinghamshire Police is looking to take a lead role on the issue of freight crime.

Meanwhile, RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning, Freight Transport Association chief executive Theo de Pencier and CM editorial director Justin Stanton have met with Transport Select Committee chair Louise Ellman earlier this week to lobby for long-term recognition and funding of freight crime on the national policing agenda.

Ellman confirms she will be investigating to ensure an impact study was carried out when the Home Office cut TruckPol’s funding in April 2011, adding: "Freight crime is very serious and we need to see what can be done."

Vosa looks to improve ATF services

Vosa is currently polling Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) providers with a range of options aimed at improving the marketability, operational support and flexibility of the sites.

Following the first national ATF Forum held in February this year, where representatives from testing centres across the UK met with senior Vosa officials, a list of 400 ideas was gleaned, of which the government agency is now asking businesses to prioritise from a whittled down selection of key themes it has identified.

A Vosa spokesman adds: "Some of the themes around staff consistency and operating practices will be internally examined by Vosa and we will be discussing these at a Vosa staff workshop."

One of the main areas highlighted by ATF providers was asking Vosa for support in helping develop the commercial profitability of their businesses, with owners now able to prioritise which actions are most likely to help promote their centres. These include a ‘find your nearest’ web tool; the promotion of private ATFs at the Vosa Contact Centre; and the creation of an industry-managed booking website.

The other key themes include day-to-day Vosa support for ATFs, such as improving web access to technical information; streamlining the payment process, such as more transparency and speed with invoicing and shorter notice periods on cancellations (currently seven days); and a greater flexibility from Vosa in being able to offer extended testing periods and reducing lead times.

"ATF operators have until 16 May to get their responses back to us. We look forward to getting the responses in and hope that as many ATFs as possible take up the opportunity," adds the Vosa spokesman.