ECIC, the specialist insurer for the building services sector, has issued a new warning to contractors to protect their tools from theft, following claims from the Criminal Bar Association that theft is being decriminalised due to the police failing to pursue prosecutions.
ECIC claims data shows that insurance claims for theft from vans increased by 55% in 2019 compared to 2018, with the average claim for theft of tools reaching £2,685.
Recently published crime figures show that the chances of a theft resulting in a prosecution has dropped from 10.8% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2019, with the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Stevens, saying that the figures exposed the ‘perfect storm’ of rising offences and falling prosecutions overall.
In response, ECIC is urging subcontractors to strengthen their security measures to reduce the risk of tool theft from vans, highlighting basic actions that can be taken to deter thieves:
• Use tints on windows so thieves can’t see into the vehicle or install internal metal grills to make it more difficult to break in.
• Ensure that all tools have identification marks using the latest smart technology.
• Remove tools from vehicles and store securely elsewhere over night or between jobs –a secure box fixed inside the vehicle is also a secure way of storing your kit.
• Park vehicles in a well-lit area with CCTV with the sliding or rear doors close to a wall where possible.
Richard Forrest Smith, CEO of ECIC, notes, “Losing valuable tools is disruptive for businesses, impacting on cash flow and work schedules. By following some of our tips, contractors can help to reduce their risk of being a victim of theft.
“Contractors also need to make sure that their insurance policies are up to date and reflect all their needs just in case the worst does happen. A regular review of insurance cover with your broker is essential.”