Issued by the – Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team
This page contains the Chairman’s Introduction and the Summary of
Action Points. The complete document is available in an HTML version.
The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team was set up in September
1998 to carry forward the work necessary to meet the Government�s
target for reducing theft of and from vehicles by 30% over the 5
year period 1 April 1999 – 31 March 2004. This means that, on the
basis of currently available recorded crime figures, we need to see
a reduction from 1.1 million to 783,000 offences � a fall of
317,000 offences over the 5 years.
This document sets out how we propose to deliver that reduction.
It reflects contributions from the broad range of interests
represented on the Action Team and the Task Groups that report to
it. These include representatives from motor manufacturers and
retailers, insurers, the salvage industry, car park owners and
operators, consumers, the police and Government Departments. A list
of Action Team members and the 13 Task Groups that report to the
Action Team is attached at Annex A. I am grateful to all of them for
making available their time and expertise. Our recommendations do,
of course, reflect our own collective view rather than, necessarily,
that of the various organisations from which we are drawn.
The starting point for the Action Team�s work was the “14
Point Plan” for reducing vehicle crime (Annex B), which had
been jointly developed by the Association of Chief Police Officers
(ACPO), the Home Office and the Department of the Environment,
Transport and the Regions. This is reflected in many of our
proposals that address the issues we regarded as the highest
priority. The Action Team has yet to develop its views on regulating
the export of vehicles, and the issue of external funding and, in
particular, the “Michigan Scheme”. We have agreed not to
proceed with work on the “pre-insurance inspection law”,
because it was felt to be impractical, in the light of earlier
unsuccessful attempts to introduce such a scheme.
The Action Team commissioned each of the Task Groups to produce a
plan setting out key issues and how they could deliver their
contribution to the target. Their proposals are reflected in this
strategy document. The message from the work of the Action Team and
the Task Groups is that we can meet the target by:
– improved security on new cars, benefiting from the widespread
fitting of electronic immobilisers on new cars from around 1992
(and which became compulsory under EU law from 1998).
Encouraging manufacturers to fit deadlocks and other security
features on a wider range of models will help reduce
“thefts from” as well as “thefts of”
– improving used car security to reduce substantially the number
of “thefts of”. This can be achieved, in particular,
by the widespread fitting of electronic immobilisers. Whether to
legislate for this is a matter for Government but the Action
Team believes this is the surest way to achieve our common
objective. Encouraging retailers to promote, and consumers to
buy, a package of security measures for used cars will also help
reduce both “thefts from” as well as “thefts
– better policing and community responses which target prolific
offenders, crime “hotspots” and the market for stolen
goods. Measures to make it more difficult for vehicles or their
contents to be stolen are not enough on their own. We also need
to focus on potential offenders and areas of high crime. There
is a large prize here in being able to tackle by these means the
large number of “thefts from” which make up two-thirds
of all recorded vehicle crime;
– improving car park security. About 22% of all vehicle crime
takes place in car parks so successfully tackling this will make
a sizeable contribution to meeting the target;
– developing new procedures at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing
Agency and working with the motor salvage industry to stop
stolen vehicles being given the identity of other, legitimate,
vehicles. Improving regulation of the salvage industry will also
help to stop vehicles being stolen for spare parts. Reducing the
market for stolen vehicles in this way will mean that they have
less value to the thief who will in turn have less to gain by
stealing them in the first place.
The measure with the biggest single pay-off is the widespread
fitting of electronic immobilisers on new and used cars �
producing about half of the total target reduction required. The
graph below at Figure 1 shows our estimate of the combined impact of
the measures we propose, assuming the Government agrees to require
electronic immobilisers to be fitted on used cars 7-10 years old and
that this takes effect from April 2001 (i.e. to apply to cars
registered during 1991-1994). But an important message � reflected
in the membership of the Action Team and our approach to the task
� is that we have to move forward on all fronts to tackle vehicle
crime. We need a comprehensive and coherent approach.
Mike Wear, Chairman
Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team
An explanation of the crime reduction contribution from each Task
Group is available from the Home Office, Crime Targets Task Force, at 50
Queen Anne�s Gate, London SW1H 9AT (TEL: 020 7273 3351/3884).
Summary of action points
Chapter 2 � Better vehicle security
The law should be changed so as to require used cars 7-10 years
old to be fitted with electronic immobilisers. (i.e. cars registered
during 1991-1994, if legislation were to take effect from April
2001). (Paragraph 9).
Manufacturers should be encouraged to fit deadlocks more widely on
the new car model range, particularly on cars produced in volume.
Manufacturers should be encouraged to fit laminated glazing more
widely on the new car model range. (Paragraph 11).
A used car security package should be agreed with retailer
representatives and promoted by the industry to consumers.
Consumers should be provided with more information about the
security features of new cars and the recommended security package
for used cars so that it informs their purchasing decisions.
(Paragraph 10 & 14).
There should be a comprehensive end user registration scheme for
trailers and certain plant and equipment. (Paragraph 16/19)
Trailers exceeding an unladen weight of 1020 kgs should be
recognised as vehicles and allocated a Vehicle Identification Number
(VIN). (Paragraph 19)
Chapter 3 � Better enforcement
The Police Service to identify good practice in dealing with
vehicle crime and then spread it to all forces so that the
performance of all is raised to that of the best. (Paragraph 3).
Police officers should be given training in key vehicle crime
reduction messages. (Paragraph 5).
The law should be changed so as to allow the police access at the
roadside, via the Police National Computer, to DVLA driver records.
Plans in hand for MOT records to be computerised and the Motor
Insurance Database, an initiative of the motor insurance industry,
will significantly improve the information available to the police
at the roadside. (Paragraph 9).
Chapter 4 � Safer environment
Regional Development Managers to follow up leads stemming from the
recent Home Office Minister of State�s letter and other
initiatives promoting the Secure Car Park scheme. (Paragraph 8).
A Secured Car Park Directory should be published, initially in the
North-West, to make information about the location of Secured Car
Parks more widely known. (Paragraph 9).
Local authorities should be encouraged to erect road signs with a
distinctive logo so that consumers may identify car parks with
“secured” status more readily. (Paragraph 9).
A wider publicity campaign should include the Secured Car Park
initiative so as to raise public awareness and encourage their use.
Chapter 5 � Modernising information systems
A direct link should be established between the Motor Industry
Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) and DVLA. (Paragraph 2).
Extending the coverage of information held on MIAFTR to include
fleet and other vehicles, where owners carry their own uninsured
losses, should be investigated. (Paragraph 2).
The proposed computerisation of MOT records and the Motor
Insurance Database of insured drivers should both link into the
Police National Computer to provide police officers at the roadside
with ready access to information. (Paragraph 2).
A separate Task Group of the Action Team should be established to
look for appropriate linkages between different information systems.
Chapter 6 � Better regulation
The existing Motor Conference Code of Practice for the disposal of
motor salvage should be enhanced. (Paragraph 8).
The coverage of the Code of Practice should be extended to include
companies such as fleet hire companies and others that self-insure.
The Action Team should give further consideration to the question
of legislation to prevent vehicle owners being allowed to retain
salvage and giving legislative protection to manufacturers� marks
on parts. (Paragraph 10 & 12).
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
Legislation should be considered and resources provided to:
Require proof of identity of the applicant when a Vehicle
Registration Document (V5) is issued. (Paragraph 15).
Make it compulsory for the Vehicle Registration Document to
transfer with the vehicle when it is sold. (Paragraph 15).
Require production of the Vehicle Registration Document with
an application for a Vehicle Excise Duty licence, if not
submitted on a V11 form. (Paragraph 15).
Make collection of mileage data compulsory. (Paragraph 15).
Collect more data on seriously damaged vehicles and record it
on the Vehicle Registration Document. (Paragraph 15)
Public awareness should be raised about the importance of the
Vehicle Registration Document and the need to see it before
completing a purchase. (Paragraph 16).
The Action Team should consider further the options for tightening
up on the supply of number plates and the information they might
contain. (Paragraph 18).
Chapter 7 � What the motorist can do to help
Communication strategies need to be developed alongside each
initiative, aimed both at practitioners and those affected by
vehicle crime. (Paragraph 2).
The profile of vehicle crime needs to be raised in a properly
co-ordinated way, providing a foundation on which localised
communications activity can build. (Paragraph 2).
A long-term programme of communications and publicity should be
developed in order to provide information and advice to motorists
about vehicle security issues. (Paragraph 2).