Police and retailers in Cambridgeshire are working with the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) to use a new electronic system for reporting incidents of people driving off from petrol station forecourts without paying for fuel.

The Electronic Reporting System (ERS) is the latest innovation from BOSS. Electronic reporting enables retailers to send details of incidents to police online, including supporting evidence from forecourt CCTV. The initiative is being launched at a special event at Cambridgeshire Police Headquarters this month and will come into use during March.

The system benefits retailers by making it quick and easy to submit a report online following a drive-off. For police the advantage is that detailed information about incidents is received early, meaning that swift action can be taken and significantly increasing opportunities for detection.

Detective inspector Dominic Human, from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “We recognise that there are occasions within the business community where the blur between the criminal law and civil law can cause frustration and to help improve the service provided in respect of drive offs and subsequent action taken by the police to investigate valid reports of fuel drive-offs we’re going to make use of the BOSS Electronic Reporting System.”

Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: “The BOSS Electronic Reporting System offers significant advantages for both the police and our fuel retailing partners. Incidents can be followed up much more quickly and effectively as all details and evidence can be supplied online in one go.

“During the early stages of the trial we’ve seen very encouraging results, with reports being acted on by police within hours of being submitted. We hope to be able to roll out our Electronic Reporting System to other police forces later this year, helping to save police time and bring swift justice to offenders throughout the country.”