Tag Archives: Norman Baker MP

BOSS: “£1.5 million reasons to demonstrate forecourt retailers are tackling criminality”

The British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS), the body that campaigns to reduce crime on forecourts, has written to Home Office minister Norman Baker MP in a bid to bring to his attention the fact that the organisation has recovered £1.5 million as a direct result of forecourt retailers taking positive action to reduce crime and losses from people claiming they have No Means of Payment (NMoP).

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, explained: “It’s disappointing to hear recent comments from Norman Baker at the Home Office. We’ve worked closely with the Home Office for many years now to find new and improved ways of tackling crime on forecourts. The BOSS Payment Watch scheme is an excellent example that has proved extremely popular and effective for forecourt retailers. Since the scheme began in 2011, it has now recovered £1.5 million for participating retailers and more than £400,000 this year alone.”

Eastwood continued: “Government does recognise the work retailers are doing, and we’ve now been asked to present our findings to the Home Office later this month. Hopefully, Mr Baker will be able to attend that meeting. We’ve found that by forming stronger relationships between retailers, the police and oil companies, incidents of forecourt crime drop quite significantly. Where crime does occur, we’ve worked diligently with the authorities to bring offenders, and particularly multiple repeat offenders before the courts.”

BOSS has recovered £1.5 million as a direct result of forecourt retailers taking positive action to reduce crime and losses from people claiming to have No Means of Payment

BOSS has recovered £1.5 million as a direct result of forecourt retailers taking positive action to reduce crime and losses from people claiming to have No Means of Payment

Advancing that last theme, Eastwood commented: “We’ve used technology to become more proactive in targeting serial offenders. Thousands of incident reports collated by BOSS members have been analysed. By identifying repeat offenders, who often operate across police boundaries, we can then prepare evidence and help the police service bring those offenders who abuse No Means of Payment schemes to justice.”

BOSS has been instrumental in initiating a steady flow of prosecutions. Recent successes include the case of Aaron Cawley, who was jailed for ten months at Gloucester Crown Court for stealing £1,000 of petrol between July 2011 and October 2013.

BOSS crime reports also help Government agencies. Recent evidence submitted regarding multiple offending has been used in anti-terrorist prosecutions in addition to cases involving illegal immigration.

More than 1,600 service stations are members of the BOSS Payment Watch scheme. Those members include major independents such as MRH, Sewell on the Go and the Central England Co-operative.

Thames Valley Police teams up with BOSS

BOSS has joined forces with Thames Valley Police to introduce a new Forecourt Watch scheme designed to reduce crime at 38 petrol station forecourts within the Cherwell and West Oxfordshire areas.

Forecourt Watch creates a closer link between the police service, BOSS and retail staff in order to increase awareness, prevention and the reporting and recording of incidents. The Cherwell and West Oxfordshire scheme is being rolled out at 16 key sites and is the latest addition to 126 schemes already operational across the UK.

Sergeant Kevin Tobin from Thames Valley Police stated: “Working with the police enables garages to reduce thefts from forecourts by an average of 25 per month. One area manager with garages in the Cherwell scheme has seen a substantial drop in losses, and indeed suggests that those forecourts are now his best performing sites. The scheme provides early information on stolen number plates, in turn allowing forecourt staff to take action and prevent offences from being committed.”

BOSS is addressing the problem of forecourt crime on several fronts. At a local level, Forecourt Watch schemes are operating successfully. Losses have been shown to fall by up to 55%.

There are currently 126 Forecourt Watch schemes in operation, all of them initiated by BOSS on behalf of its retail members. They help to forge productive working relationships between retailers and local police and ensure the swift and efficient detection of forecourt crime.

Crime on Britain’s forecourts cost UK fuel retailers a staggering £25.7 million in 2012, up from £22.2 million in 2010. The main source of the estimated total loss is £20.4 million resulting from drive-off incidents – up 31% compared from a total of £15.5 million in 2010 – with a further £4.2 million lost due to motorists claiming to have No Means of Payment who then fail to return to clear their debt.

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Dr Gillian Tully takes on key role of Forensic Science Regulator

The Home Office today has announced the appointment of a new Forensic Science Regulator. Dr Gillian Tully will replace Andrew Rennison, whose term of office will come to an end next month.

The Forensic Science Regulator is an independent role responsible for establishing and enforcing quality standards for forensic science used in the investigation and prosecution of crime.

Dr Tully’s three-year term of appointment will begin on 17 November 2014.

Dr Gillian Tully

Dr Gillian Tully

Experience and judgement

A self-employed consultant in forensic science providing advice on casework, expert training and quality systems, Dr Tully previously spent 23 years working in the Forensic Science Service, which included a four-year period as head of Research and Development.

Norman Baker, Minister for Crime Prevention, said: “Dr Gillian Tully has the experience and judgement necessary for this important role, dealing with those who deliver forensic service, the industry and Government. I should like to record the Government’s appreciation to Andrew Rennison for his contribution in successfully introducing the first set of quality standards in forensic science.”

Dr Tully added: “I am looking forward to taking up this very challenging role and will endeavour to provide my full support to all those involved in forensic science as we aim to continually improve standards.”

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Fight against metal theft boosted by UK Government funding

The crackdown on the illegal trade of metal has been boosted by UK Government funding of £500,000.

The Home Office and Department for Transport have agreed to provide further funding for the National Metal Theft Taskforce. The taskforce develops intelligence, co-ordinates activity and targets and disrupts criminal networks – both the thieves and also the criminal market, including rogue elements of the scrap metal industry.

The funding follows a request from the British Transport Police (which leads the taskforce), and means the Government has invested more than £6 million in the initiative since it was launched in January 2012.

The latest funding, which runs to the end of September this year, will allow the taskforce to continue its hugely successful programme of co-ordinated national days of action.

These targeted operations against unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, in conjunction with police and local agencies, have so far resulted in more than 1,000 arrests for theft and related offences. Police have also seized more than 600 vehicles involved in criminality.

More difficult for thieves to profit from crime

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “The coalition Government has made it harder than ever for metal thieves to prosper. Our £6 million investment in the National Metal Theft Taskforce is reaping rewards.”

The minister continued: “Alongside our reforms to ban cash payments and regulate the scrap metal trade, the taskforce has helped to make it much more difficult for thieves and unscrupulous dealers to profit from crime. This additional Government funding will enable the taskforce to continue its programme of co-ordinated national days of action, which have so far resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the seizure of hundreds of vehicles involved in criminality.”

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “I am pleased we can continue to fund this nationally important organisation. The potential impact cable theft has on the railways is huge, not least the inconvenience to passengers. Network Rail has to compensate operators for the disruption. This is money that could be better spent on improving the network which is a vital part of our economic plan.”

In conclusion, Baroness Kramer added: “For the last two years the taskforce has had a big impact in reducing the number of cables being stolen. Network Rail continues to report that the trend is in decline, with delays to passengers being at an all-time low.”

Crackdown on the illegal trade of metal

The taskforce forms part of the Government’s programme of work to crack down on the illegal trade of metal, and its activities have been boosted by legislation.

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which came into effect in October 2013, scrap metal dealers are now required to hold licences issued by local authorities.

The licences set standards for record keeping and customer verification, and councils may revoke a licence at any time if they believe the dealer is no longer suitable to hold one.

Cash payments for scrap metal have been banned since December 2012.

Statistics published in November 2013 show that UK Government action is working. There was a 40% fall in the number of offences for the three months to the end of March 2013 compared to the three months to the end of June 2012.

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Antony Porter appointed as UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

The following written ministerial statement has been laid before the House of Commons by Norman Baker MP and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach, confirming the appointment of Antony Porter as Surveillance Camera Commissioner for the UK.

The Minister of State for Crime Prevention, Norman Baker, comments: “My honourable friend the Minister of State for Criminal Information, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, has today made the following written ministerial statement….”

“I am today announcing arrangements for the appointment of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner under Section 34 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012,” said Lord Taylor.

“Following an open competition overseen by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, this ministerial appointment will be filled by Mr Antony Porter. Mr Porter’s three-year term of appointment will commence on Monday 10 March 2014.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Taylor of Holbeach

“The Surveillance Camera Commissioner appointment has been filled by Mr Andrew Rennison who has now completed his term of office. I should like to record the Government’s appreciation of Mr Rennison’s contribution in laying the foundations for the regulation of surveillance camera systems.

Norman Baker: minister of state for crime prevention at the Home Office

Norman Baker: minister of state for crime prevention at the Home Office

“Mr Rennison also holds the non-statutory appointment of Forensic Science Regulator. Arrangements for the recruitment of a new Forensic Science Regulator are in hand, and Mr Rennison will continue to fulfil that role on a part-time basis until a new appointment is made.”

Key elements of the role

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner is responsible for:

• encouraging compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

• providing advice on the effective, appropriate, proportionate and transparent use of surveillance camera systems

• providing advice on operational and technical standards

• reviewing how the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice is working and advising the Government where any changes may be necessary

A retired senior police leader whose roles have included commanding the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit from 2006 to 2012, Antony Porter received the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Year’s Honours List of 2008.

Speaking about his new role, Antony Porter said: “I’m delighted to accept this appointment and must first acknowledge the excellent foundations laid for me by my predecessor, Andrew Rennison.

“This role presents complex and challenging issues that impact on matters of social policy, Human Rights and crime prevention. My commitment to everyone is to ensure an open and transparent approach to the role.

“I will seek to raise levels of confidence across communities and interest groups as to the use of surveillance cameras and the standards against which those systems operate. Technology moves forward at a fast pace, which will present new and dynamic issues in the future. I look forward to building close and working relationships with all interested parties to ensure those challenges are managed and seen to be managed in the public interest.”

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