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Ban the sale of used power tools at car boot sales and markets

Submitted by Shoaib Awan on Friday 15th March 2024

Published on Wednesday 3rd April 2024

Current status: Closed

Closed: Wednesday 29th May 2024

Signatures: 46,394

Relevant Departments

Petition Action

Ban the sale of used power tools at car boot sales and markets

Petition Details

We think car boot sales and markets are a major reason for tool theft from vans. Many tradespeople have their van broken into and have their tools stolen, which can deprive them of their livelihood. Replacing tools is not cheap, and we want the Government to take action to tackle tool theft.

Additional Information

Completely ban the sale of used power tools at car boot sales and markets. By not doing so we believe the Government is allowing these tool thieves a platform to sell these tools for quick money. By not doing so we believe the Government is putting more pressure on the police department who receive calls all across the country about tool theft. Insurance companies are suffering because of this crime too. Trades people across the country are struggling to work and feed their families. This needs to end. We want there to be a £10,000 fine for selling used power tools at a car boot sale or market, and for organisers of car boot sales or markets where power tools are sold. Make it hard for these tool thieves.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Wednesday 17th April 2024

The Government has no plans for such a sales ban, but recognises the impact of this crime, and is consulting on how new law and other crime prevention measures can best protect a van and its contents.

The Government recognises the impact acquisitive crime can have on individuals, businesses and the wider community, including the cost and disruption when tools which tradespeople rely on to earn a living are stolen.

The Government is already taking action to tackle tool theft, including consulting on extending the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 to include tools to prevent theft and recover stolen tools.

We welcome the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales data, which shows that neighbourhood crime is down 48% when comparing findings from the Crime Survey to year ending September 2023 with the year ending March 2010.

This Government is committed to driving down crime, which is why we have recruited an additional 20,000 officers over the past three years from funding from the Police Uplift Programme. We are clear that all reported crimes should be taken seriously, properly investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. We have been clear that police must take a zero tolerance approach to all crimes and get the basics right. We therefore welcome the national commitment to pursue all ‘reasonable lines of enquiry’ where there is a reasonable chance it could lead them to catching a perpetrator and solving a crime. This commitment has been worked up and agreed by the Home Office, in tandem with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing and we will be holding the police to account on the delivery.

The Government recognises that tradespeople’s vans are often targeted by criminals who seek to steal tools. Last year, Parliament passed the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023; this legislation will require certain types of equipment used in agriculture, construction or for other commercial purposes, to be marked and registered before it is sold to the first owner. During Parliamentary debates there were calls for the legislation to be extended and to place a requirement for forensic marking on power tools used by tradespeople, to prevent theft and re-sale. It is hoped the proposals for the Act’s secondary legislation will assist local police forces with identifying and proving ownership of stolen property.

The Home Office undertook an eight-week Call for Evidence which closed in July 2023, targeted at those who may be affected by the proposals should they become legislation, including manufacturers, dealers, retailers, forensic marking companies, trade associations, tradespeople, and law enforcement practitioners. Following further discussions with retailers and manufacturers of power tools to discuss the impacts of the proposals, before introducing secondary legislation, the Government’s response to the Call for Evidence will be published shortly.

We are delivering a programme of work to reduce the ability for offenders to profit from acquisitive crime, making it less attractive to thieves. Methods such as ensuring property is marked, registered and traceable, encouraging due diligence checks by second-hand traders and increased enforcement from police will make it more difficult for criminals to profit from acquisitive crime. To help ensure the response to acquisitive crime is as robust as it can be, we are continuing to work with the police to better understand the disposal routes used to sell stolen goods to inform what more can be done to tackle the stolen goods market, as well as working across government and with industry leads to examine what more can be done to prevent these crimes.

The Government is working with the police-led National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) and the Combined Industries Theft Solutions to explore ways to prevent the theft of tools from tradespeople’s vans. The NBCC and Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Secured By Design) have also published crime prevention guidance to help tradespeople prevent theft: https://nbcc.police.uk/crime-prevention/crime-prevention-guides and https://www.securedbydesign.com/guidance/crime-prevention-advice/vehicle-crime/vans-tool-theft.

We are also working with partners to make tradespeople’s vans more secure. Following engagement with the Home Office and National Vehicle Crime Working Group, Thatcham Research has agreed to add to their New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA), locks and alarms on the back of vans (previously NVSA only covers the cab area of vans) and a motion sensor on the load area of the van.

In addition, through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, a network of vehicle crime specialists has been established, involving every police force in England and Wales, to ensure forces can share information about emerging trends in vehicle crime and better tackle regional issues.

We have no plans to ban the sale of used power tools at car boots sales or markets. The Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 provides the scope to introduce measures to tackle the theft of tradespeople’s tools.

Home Office

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