Cabinet Secretary joins police and Crimestoppers to launch new campaign tackling metal thieves
Crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and The Association of Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) are today launching a dedicated national campaign to help tackle the scourge of metal theft [6 June 2012].
Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice will join officers from British Transport Police, Lothian and Borders Police and Crimestoppers as well as representatives from BT Openreach, Scottish Power and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, to officially launch the campaign at a multi-agency roadcheck at Seafield Road in Leith, Edinburgh.
The ‘Cut out Metal theft’ campaign encourages the public to pass on information about metal thieves – which causes massive disruption and inconvenience to communities - anonymously to Crimestoppers.
Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird, area commander for the Scotland area of British Transport Police and the chair of the ACPOS metal theft group said:
“The public should be assured that the police and our partner agencies are working closely to clamp down on these thieves and the unscrupulous metal dealers who continue to trade in stolen metal.
“We do however still need valuable assistance from the public and the campaign, which includes hard-hitting radio advertising, is designed to make them aware of the scale of an issue which continues to blight their communities and take their own action by reporting it.”
The Cabinet Secretary will also announce new measures to clamp down on metal theft following the Scottish Government’s consultation - which sought views from the industry and the public regarding the licensing and legislation of scrap metal dealers.
Mr MacAskill said: “The Scottish Government is taking tough steps to scrap metal theft with the status quo being untenable. The consultation responses confirm that there is an overwhelming case to ensure proper regulation, licensing and the highest possible standards of practice in the industry.
“We will take action on cash payments for metal to remove the attraction of easy ‘ready cash’ payments. Announcing a tenfold rise in the exemption warrant threshold will regulate hundreds of additional dealers. And we will ensure that all dealers are licensed, working with the industry to create a robust, workable scheme to do this.
“This would reduce the outlets for stolen metal and the incentive to steal. Licensing could also help ensure that better records are kept, CCTV cameras are installed and checks on customer identities are conducted.
“We welcome the commitment the British Transport Police and ACPOS are making to tackling metal theft. High profile campaigns, heightened co-operation between agencies and bespoke training for officers are part of the solution.
“With tough legislation and enforcement we can make a difference, and we will continue to work with police, industries affected by metal theft and the majority of reputable metal dealers to stop metal thieves.”
As well as targeting cables - which disrupt trains, power supplies, telephone and internet connections - thieves have stolen manhole covers, lead from church roofs and even plaques from war memorials.
Kate Jackson, Crimestoppers’ national manager for Scotland said: “Crimestoppers wants to encourage the public to fight back against the metal thieves who create severe disruption for local communities and cost millions to the UK economy.
“We want to cut out metal theft and the local public can help by passing on any information they might have on the thieves committing this crime, anonymously to Crimestoppers. We don’t want to know who you are, only what you know and you might even qualify for a reward.”
Notes to Editors:
- Metal theft costs the UK economy an estimated to be £770 million per year and has been described as a challenge as big as terrorism.
- To pass on information about metal theft or any crime, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the secure online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
- Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our ‘giving information’ form via our website www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
- A dedicated metal theft website has been established by the Scottish Business Crime Centre - see www.metaltheftscotland.org.uk.
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