Future Uncertain for ACPO’s Vehicle Crime Unit
The closure of Truckpol, the UK’s only freight crime intelligence unit, in March was a bitter blow to the haulage industry.
Its future had been uncertain for some time and then when it lost the Home Office grant in the last round of government cutbacks the writing was on the wall.
So maybe it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that Truckpol’s parent, the Association of Chief Police Officer’s unit dedicated to combating organised vehicle crime, AVCIS, is also now under threat.
According to those in the know, a decision will be made at the end of this month about whether to close AVCIS down or not.
If you are of a cynical mind this means that the decision has already been made.
When a similar announcement was made about Truckpol at the end of last year the industry was offered a glimmer of hope that the truck crime unit might remain open. However, when its closure was confirmed weeks later the feeling was that everyone had been hoodwinked.
There are mutterings that AVCIS could be absorbed into the National Crime Agency, which should be fully operational by next year.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hooper says that although vehicle theft has fallen ‘vehicle enabled crime’ remains a problem and he wouldn’t be surprised if this forms a part of the NCA’s structure.
But the Road Haulage Association remains sceptical that the detecting of goods vehicle crime will be included.
It believes the NCA’s mandate will be to focus on level 3 crime, such as drugs, firearms and trafficking and vehicle crime is currently classed as level 2.
However, the good news is that Nottinghamshire police says it is establishing a freight crime division and hauliers and other forces should forward details of relevant crimes to the unit.
It hasn’t got all the funding it needs yet, and one wonders whether it has the resources to handle all the work Truckpol did, but in the absence of any other ideas it’s got to be a good thing.
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