Equipment Theft Prevention Act 2023: Is It Enough?

July 14, 2023

The Equipment Theft Prevention Act 2023 underscores the critical importance of comprehensive site perimeter protection, but firms must still invest in security.

Legislation is making its way through parliament, designed to slash equipment theft on construction sites.

This new legislation underscores the critical importance of comprehensive site perimeter protection.

Equipment Theft Prevention Act Responds to Increasing Thefts

Bolt Cutters
Construction site theft has risen sharply in recent years. Image credit: Unsplash

When enacted, the Equipment Theft Prevention Act will aim to prevent the theft and resale of equipment and tools used by tradespeople, agricultural businesses, and other industries.

The Bill empowers the UK Secretary of State to create regulations that restrict the sale of certain equipment unless specific requirements are met.

The new Bill comes as a response to the increasing number of thefts occurring on construction sites across the United Kingdom.

A survey by the Chartered Institute of Building revealed that 92% of construction companies reported being directly affected by petty crime, with 21 per cent indicating that their sites were robbed on a weekly basis.

In recent years the total cost of theft and vandalism in the UK construction industry has reached a staggering £800 million a year.

The problem extends beyond the theft of large equipment, with more than £100 million worth of tools stolen across the country in the last two years.

Construction Industry Compliance

Construction Site Surveillance
Surveillance systems help prevent construction site theft. Image credit: Pixabay

These new regulations may require equipment to be fitted with a device designed to prevent it from being driven and to be marked with a unique identifier.

The requirements apply to mechanically propelled vehicles with an engine capacity of at least 250 cubic centimetres and travel on more than two wheels or tracks.

The requirements will also affect other equipment designed or adapted primarily for use in agricultural or commercial activities.

The Bill also allows for recording information about the sale of certain equipment, including the buyer’s contact details, the make and model of the equipment, and the date of purchase.

Regulations may specify the form and duration of record-keeping, such as an online system.

Failure to comply with these regulations will likely result in fines, although we don’t know the rules precisely as the proposed act is primary legislation.

The precise details and implementation will be outlined in statutory instruments.

This form of secondary legislation offers flexibility to modify and specify provisions, allowing the government to adjust and update the new security requirements as necessary.

Using secondary legislation benefits the construction trade by addressing diverse site security needs, considering different projects’ unique circumstances and characteristics, and providing tailored solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Before the introduction of this new legislation, there was no specific law targeting construction site theft.

Construction Industry Response

While the Theft Act 1968 and the Criminal Damage Act 1971 covered general theft and vandalism, these laws did not adequately address the unique challenges faced by construction sites.

Given the extent of the problem and the time this legislation will take to have any effect, site managers need to look at professional options for protection, said Michael Knibbs of SafeSite Security Solutions:

“We’re pleased to hear the government is taking action to try and reduce the theft happening on construction sites across the country. The statistics on this theft are shocking, and these crimes profoundly harm the livelihood and well-being of men and women out there trying to earn honest money doing professional work.”

Michael continues…

“Having welcomed this new legislation, I must say that every site manager should be looking at companies who provide site perimeter protection. Without the basics in protection from a reputable company, your construction site will be a frequent victim of crime regardless of the law.”

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