The PRA believes that tackling crime on forecourts is now “back on the police’s agenda” following a meeting with a chief constable who previously called for petrol stations to install pay at pump equipment.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson met with Simon Cole of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), who heads the Leicestershire Police service.

Last November Cole hit the headlines when he said forecourt operators could stop drive-offs by making motorists pay before refuelling, but they didn’t because they wanted to entice motorists into their shops.

In the meeting Madderson highlighted problems experienced by PRA members when reporting crimes, which included deterioration in CCTV image quality when submitting evidence and police forces failing to provide crime reference numbers after making a report.

He also outlined the efforts that petrol retailers are already making to reduce crime on their forecourts and explained the prohibitive costs associated with retro-fitting pumps with pre-payment or pay at the pump equipment.

Cole accepted Madderson’s response to the pre-pay at pump solution, but maintained that ensuring full, high-quality CCTV coverage at all pumps remains key to ensuring fuel thieves are identifiable. Cole also mentioned improvements the police are making to their online systems to make evidence submissions easier and preserve the quality of CCTV footage.

After the meeting Madderson said: “The PRA is pleased to see that forecourt crime is now back on the police’s agenda, following a productive meeting.”

Following the meeting, the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) reached out to the PRA to arrange a meeting to discuss the issues affecting petrol retailers in more detail. The NBCC represents UK police services to work in partnership with the business community, to tackle crimes against businesses.

Madderson added, “We will continue to engage with Mr Cole, the NBCC and other policing bodies to ensure that the issue of forecourt crime is discussed at the most senior levels of our police force.

“It is our hope that the police will support our case for access to the DVLA’s Vehicle Keeper database, so retailers can pursue drive-offs through the civil courts and ease pressure on the police.”