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In the driving seat



In August 2020, Freedom of Information requests from British Police Forces showed that almost 10,000 vans were stolen across the UK in the previous 12 months. And, with vans an essential tool for businesses, it is vital to understand the impacts of these crimes and the measures that can be taken to reduce them.

Following concerns raised at Logistics UK’s Van Policy Working Group, Logistics UK launched a Van Security survey in August this year to investigate the issue. In this article, Denise Beedell, Logistics UK’s Policy Manager for Vans and Urban, analyses the results of this survey and discusses the actions Logistics UK is taking to tackle the issue.

There are more than four million vans currently registered on the UK’s roads; they play a crucial role in home deliveries as well as essential services and utilities. However, more than half of respondents experienced content theft from their vehicles in the last 12 months, while more than a third had a van stolen within that timeframe. 

When asked where the most likely location a van was stolen from, the most common response was a driver’s home driveway, and the next most likely was on a street near the driver’s home. But when asked where a van was most likely to be broken into, it was most likely to be in a street location near a driver’s home or at the kerbside when the vehicle is parked. This suggests that the theft of the vehicle itself is likely to be planned, whereas stealing the contents of the vehicle is more opportunistic.

These thefts have cost businesses, on average, £4,250 in the last 12 months: however, the loss of equipment or vehicles can also have significant impacts on operational efficiency. It takes time to source replacements, as well as file police reports and insurance claims, with 58% of respondents recording productivity loss as a result. Furthermore, these crimes can cause retention issues with both customers and staff; during one in eight contents thefts, the driver – or another employee – was threatened. 

With such extensive implications for business operators, 80% of survey respondents have said they would pay for additional factory fitted security measures in an effort to tackle these thefts. Moving forward, Logistics UK would like to work with van manufacturers and vehicle security equipment manufacturers to explore new security feature developments.

And as individual police forces are currently allowed to categorise van thefts in different ways – resulting in them being included in crime records for a variety of vehicles such as private cars and campervans – Logistics UK is calling on the Home Office to allocate a dedicated national crime reporting code for all commercial van thefts and thefts from vans. Furthermore, Logistics UK is also calling for a UK-wide standardised reporting method, preferably online, as opposed to the current process which varies from force to force. 

These changes would allow for government and law enforcement agencies to have a more complete picture of the extent of these crimes and allocate resources accordingly, which is a vital part of the process in reducing these costly and disruptive thefts. Logistics UK is committed to working with the relevant government departments, crime reduction agencies and members to address these crimes and develop solutions that will benefit all business operators. 

Logistics UK (formerly FTA) is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit

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