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CROSSHIRE:

PROTECT YOUR PLANT

The optimism evident at the Executive Hire Show appears to have been well founded. We are busy, our customers are busy, our competitors are busy and up and down the country the equipment thieves are even busier! Not the sort of news we want to hear, but no matter whose figures you believe they all show that plant theft remains a growth industry. There are many devices and systems available to deter or detect theft, but the fact that a sizeable chunk of the national fleet is not protected in any way is surely of concern.

Crosshire has asked more than a few hirers why they don’t give anti-theft protection a high priority and there are three popular answers. Some claim it’s not worth it because, if a villain is determined enough, they will get a machine they want whatever protection is in place. Every time new security devices are introduced, the criminals deploy countermeasures in rapid time. It may be easy to knock our hard pressed police service, who are increasingly prevented from catching crooks by having to conform to politically correct crap dished out by inept politicians, but round my neck of the woods plant theft does not qualify for a 999 response, even when the dastardly deed is still being carried out. At night, our local police station is closed. So when we had an attempted break-in recently, officers from an adjoining area were sent to investigate, but it took them ages to find our yard because they didn’t know the locality (I suppose they don’t fit Sat-Nav to patrol cars in case it gets nicked).

Penny pinchers in our industry say security is not worth the extra cost, whilst others are honest enough to say they make money out of having their kit stolen! This latter view might have merit, if only the crooks would steal the oldest kit in the inventory - but surprise, surprise, they don’t. Some traditional tool hire outlets seemingly get clients to cough up a sizeable portion of the replacement cost for relatively low value items. They might see this as a nice little earner, but it is risky if they keep hitting the same punters.

Large items can now be secured against all but the most audacious villains, but most electronic systems come at an increasingly high price, plus additional costs of monitoring and the like. One certainty is that the crooks have the odds stacked in their favour and, unless our industry pulls together, we will continue to have arguments with loss adjusters and pay higher insurance premiums. The newly launched National Plant Registration Scheme is a big step in the right direction as, for the first time, all new machines will be identified from day one and the police and port authorities will have the means of checking identity. Where we can all help to deal a massive blow to the villains is by signing up to register our existing assets into this Scheme so that, as quickly as possible, a large section of the national fleet is logged. Initially, the Scheme is only available to those items of equipment that are self-propelled or can be towed, but no doubt there will be scope to extend it in the future.

Crosshire has never been a great believer in the 57 different varieties of security gadgets and systems because they all have their drawbacks. As long as security is on a voluntary basis, only a relatively small number of machines are protected and recovery figures are not impressive. Provided that the identity methods are as permanent and far reaching as claimed by the Scheme, the criminals are going to have real problems because detection and proof of legal ownership can be established beyond doubt. Let us hope it can soon be extended to include the smaller and more portable assets that the traditional tool hire industry loses by the thousand each year - or do these losses really provide a profitable revenue stream that some might wish to retain?

Executive Hire NewsArchivesApril 2007Crosshire › Protect your plant

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