Plant theft campaign launched

The Name and Shame campaign has been running for the past five years since it was launched by Perth’s major building companies and the Housing Industry Association in conjunction with Meridian Services.The objective is to identify offenders, support police in the prosecution of the offenders and publicly name adults who are convicted as a further deterrent to committing offences on building sites. The shame file (http://www.hianameandshame.com.au/shame.aspx) lists 121 people who have been charged and convicted, out of a total 150 convictions to date.Rewards are paid – totalling $80,000 to date – to members of the public who provide information leading to the arrest of offenders responsible for building site crime. At the same time, Name and Shame increases public awareness of the problems and costs associated with building site incidents.Police have also been brought into the campaign, conducting a Tradesmen Stop campaign in which all exits from a new housing development area were blocked and random searches undertaken of vehicles leaving the area. As well as searching 85 cars, the police carried out licence and breathalyser checks.Inquiries resulting from Tradesman Stop led to the discovery of a large quantity of allegedly stolen materials, and the campaign says further similar exercises are planned.According to the HIA, building site crime in WA alone costs more than $15 million each year. Comparative figures for the civil construction sector are not easily available, but it is believed that about 2000 heavy vehicles and 500 pieces of plant and equipment are stolen in Australia each year – the costs of vandalism and petty theft come on top of that.The need for more effort to be made in preventing plant theft and site vandalism was underlined by the most recent survey of members by the CCF WA branch. But initial investigations by the branch highlighted the lack of data on the incidence of plant theft and site vandalism. “It will be difficult to engage the government, police and other organisations without us having a capacity to identify how significant the problem is,” the CCF noted in a circular to members.As a result, the CCF has teamed up with Meridian Services to launch a pilot project to gain data on the incidence of plant theft and site vandalism across the metropolitan area. The CCF has added links on its website so members can report incidents, with the information to be collected and collated by Meridian.Member companies are being encouraged to inform their supervisors and site-based staff about the strategy to ensure the pilot study is as accurate as possible.

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