Forecourt criminals across the Bradford District are to be targeted by a new joint initiative between West Yorkshire Police, Crimestoppers and British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS), whose members are Esso, BP, Shell, Texaco, Total and members of the Petrol Retailers Association. ’Name, Shame and Claim’ aims to reduce crime
committed on garage forecourts by offering rewards to those who report the people responsible.
All 54 filling stations across the Bradford district are supporting the campaign and will be displaying the ’Name, Shame and Claim’ posters urging people to report those responsible for forecourt crime. Crimes that are committed on Bradford district’s forecourts include robbery, theft and assault. The problem of forecourt crime is growing nationally and during 2007 the annual BOSS survey of crime showed a 13% increase in overall losses and this is expected to increase throughout 2008.
Crime Reduction Officer Jacquie Thomas from West Yorkshire Police said: "It’s not just a case of making off with a full tank of petrol. Many organised criminals have converted cars and even vans to hold large tanks in the back which they then fill with petrol before making off without paying. The likelihood is that this fuel is then sold or used by other criminals.
With "Name, Shame and Claim’ we’re urging people to report those responsible."
Sergeant Gary Howarth, regional co-ordinator for Crimestoppers, said: "People can be reluctant to call the police but can call Crimestoppers anonymously and in complete confidence. We would urge anyone who witnesses forecourt crime to contact us. If the call leads to a successful arrest the caller could receive anything between £100 and £1000 for their help in tackling forecourt crime."
John Turtle, BOSS’s regional co-ordinator, said: “Crime on Britain’s forecourts is a serious issue which damages business and can affect local communities. The efforts of the industry to work in partnership with organisations such as Crimestoppers and police forces around the country is indeed making an impact and this initiative with West Yorkshire Police is a further step in the battle to reduce forecourt crime.”
Oliver Edwards, store manager at Esso on Rooley Lane, said: "Forecourts are often seen as a soft target by criminals. Hopefully this initiative will change that perception. Having suffered an armed robbery at the end of last year, we welcome the ’Name, Shame and Claim’ campaign and hope it along with other initiatives already in place will help deter criminals."
Other initiatives already used by West Yorkshire Police throughout the Bradford district to tackle forecourt crime include the automatic numberplate recognition vehicles (ANPR), CCTV, and training for staff - who are regularly invited to a training session with the police to advise them of the latest preventative measures and updates on forecourt crime and how to tackle it.