ERA takes part in European Commission equipment theft meeting

By Murray Pollok18 October 2010

The European Rental Association (ERA) and other European construction bodies held a meeting with the European Commission in early October to discuss the issue of equipment theft.

ERA, along with FIEC (the European contractors association), CECE (construction equipment manufacturers association) and ECED (the distributors association), met with the Commission's Home Affairs directorate general, which is responsible for policing issues.

The four associations argue that equipment theft - valued annually at around €1 billion - is a pan-European issue and needs discussion at a European level.

ERA secretary general, Michel Petitjean, told IRN that the Commission agreed that the issue needed further consideration and said that it would consider supporting a research report to look into the topic. The Commission makes available funds for such studies and could provide up to 80% of the cost of the study with the balance provided by the four associations.

Rob Oliver, chief executive of the UK's Construction Equipment Association (CEA), who represented CECE at the meeting, told IRN that a detailed study into the problem would help establish pan-European statistics on the extent of equipment theft and also throw light on how the issue is being dealt with in some of the smaller European countries.

Mr Oliver added that the four associations were told during the meeting that the Belgian presidency of the European Union has been focusing on the problem of criminal gangs in Europe and as part of this initiative has identified eight types of crime, of which equipment theft is one. A Commission report on the issue is expected in early December.

The meeting in October follows a letter sent to the Commission on 2 June by ECED, FIEC, ERA and CECE. The letter said; "fighting equipment theft in Europe is a task the construction industry cannot perform alone.

"Although awareness of the issue is rising in some member States, much of the efforts made today, especially when extending across national borders, are more based on the goodwill of the police forces and organisations involved than on concerted and strategically planned action to significantly decrease the amount of equipment being stolen."

The associations want the Commission to facilitate a discussion with police authorities and other bodies to adopt a pan-European strategy on theft.

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