Specialist police unit to target construction plant & machinery theft


The launch of the CESAR Scheme, owned by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), has had a major impact on criminality, driving down theft significantly for machinery brands that have adopted the scheme

Equipment theft from construction sites has a significant impact on the businesses targeted from both the loss and replacement of the equipment taken, in addition to the cost of temporarily reduced activity and downtime within these sectors.

Now, with the launch of a new Police Unit, CESAR will have an ally in its fight against this type of crime.

The newly established dedicated Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) specialist police unit will be managed and operated within Opal, which is the national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime (SOAC) across the UK.

The ‘foundation’ launch of ACE took place in April 2021, where the new unit was introduced to police forces nationwide, key partners and collaborating trade associations. The key message was that cross-industry cooperation is crucial for the success of the new unit.

Opal was established in April 2019 under the governance of DCC Amanda Blakeman, the national police lead for the acquisitive crime.

The unit will focus on the offences committed by organised crime groups which are part of a series and involve cross border offending.

By developing proactive working relationships with law enforcement, partner and business agencies the ACE Unit will work to reduce the theft of stolen construction plant and agricultural equipment and maximise the recovery of stolen equipment, both nationally and internationally.

The ACE national intelligence hub team will work closely with the industry, developing positive working relationships to support and promote schemes such as CESAR to prevent theft and maximise the recovery of stolen equipment.

The Unit is funded jointly with donations from the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) and a group of insurance companies, including Allianz, Aviva, Axa, HSB Engineering Insurance, NFU Mutual and QBE, with a specific interest in the construction plant and agricultural sectors.

The fight against agricultural machinery theft

Deputy chief constable, Amanda Blakeman, NPCC lead for Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime, said: “This is a really positive move to improve the response of UK policing in tackling the organised theft of plant and agricultural equipment.

“The investment will help develop a detailed intelligence picture which will support forces in reducing criminality in this area.

“We are really grateful for the strong support of partners such as the CEA, the AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association) and the insurance industry and welcome their commitment to developing a strong working relationship moving forward.”

Superintendent Andy Huddleston, NPCC lead for agricultural machinery theft, added: “The launch of the ACE team will massively help the fight against agricultural machinery theft – the sharing of intelligence and targeting of Organised Crime Groups in this specialist area of thefts is key.

“I very much look forward to working with the team and the operational benefits this will bring to UK policing.”


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