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“By layering security with SBD approved products you can reduce the chances of falling victim to tool theft”

Tools in both tradespeople’s and company vehicles are regularly targeted by thieves, as they are expensive and easily disposed of at boot fayres or via websites.

The cost of tool theft can be devastatingly expensive for individuals and business, not to mention the inconvenience of replacing the tools and the loss of trade. To make matters worse thieves will often target that same individuals or business again once the stolen tools have been replaced with new products.

The national police security initiative Secured by Design’s Crime Prevention & Security Advice hub offers best practice to follow, alongside practical crime prevention methods, to help prevent the theft of tools. Alongside the practical advice are details of Secured by Design member companies who offer products which can prevent or deter this type of crime and which have been tested and certified to meet the exacting standards you would expect from the police.

Although theft of tools is not a specific category covered by the Crime Survey for England and Wales or police recorded crime statistics, there are many other sources available from businesses and individual police forces that indicate the size and scale of the problem.

For example, in response to a Freedom of Information request earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police Service has revealed that tool theft from a vehicle has increased by 25% – accounting for a third of all tool thefts recorded in the capital in 2021 and 2022.

There were 34,712 tools stolen in London alone from January 2021 to October 2022. That’s a 62% increase on the 21,445 tools stolen from January 2019 to December 2020, with tradespeople 10 times more likely to experience tool theft from a vehicle than they are from a building site or their place of work.

Meanwhile analysis of police force data by Direct Line business insurance shows a total of £66 million worth of tools were stolen from tradespeople’s vehicles in 2022, whilst in total 35,098 tools thefts were reported to the police in 2022 – up 13 per cent from the 31,161 reported cases the previous year, equating to a tool being taken every 15 minutes.

The LBC News story 'You can't work for a week' earlier this year revealed how this type of theft impacts four in five tradespeople.

Doug Skins, Secured by Design, said: “The theft of tools continues to be a high volume crime – attractive to professional gangs and opportunist thieves alike – with the capability of causing considerable disruption to business operations and delays and inconvenience to customers.

“Secured by Design has hundreds of member companies with thousands of products in more than 30 different crime categories that have achieved our coveted Police Preferred Specification. SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK. SBD has many member companies that specialise in vehicle security to protect vans and tools. These products range from wheelclamps and steering wheel locks and internally anchored security boxes through to security marking and forensic coding systems, key fobs and signalling blockers, tool safe vaults, and tracking systems. There are also a range of SBD accredited products which are suitable for the security of tools on construction sites.

“By layering security with SBD approved products you can reduce the chances of falling victim to tool theft”.

Find out more about the steps you can take to reduce the risk of tool theft here.

The SBD Construction Site Security Guidance document gives advice on all aspects of security when it comes to construction sites, from the very start to the end of construction. The guide can be downloaded for free here.