The taskforce has been instrumental in bringing about significant reductions in offending across the country.
Through wide sharing of best practice and information, we have been able to improve the way in which police forces deal with metal theft in terms of both detection and reduction.
Frontline officers across the country are now better informed regarding metal theft, and the tactics advocated by the taskforce have been adopted as business as usual.
We saw a 44% reduction in metal theft nationwide in 2012-13. The latest figures for the rail network show a 36% reduction in cable theft, with ‘live’ cable thefts dropping by 41% in 2013-14. We expect Home Office force figures to reflect that drop when they are released later this year.
Our budget for April – October 2014 of £500,000 has largely been channelled into operational activity, including days of action at known metal theft hotspots and the execution of warrants to bring those responsible to justice.
We are proud of our successes and, although funding for the taskforce will end in October, many forces will retain dedicated metal theft teams.
We will continue to work with affected industries and communities to combat both low level opportunistic thieves and those organised gangs that make peoples’ lives a misery by stealing from their churches, power networks or transport infrastructure.
British Transport Police Superintendent Alison Evans, head of the Metal Theft Taskforce