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Theft: Metals

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidences of theft of metal have been recorded in each police constabulary area in each of the last 12 months; how many successful prosecutions have been brought as a result; and what penalty was imposed in each case. (220390)

The information requested is not collected centrally. In terms of the police recorded crime statistic, it is not possible to identify the number of thefts where metal was stolen. Such offences are recorded in the 'Other theft' classification and cannot be separately identified from other items stolen. The same applies to the court proceedings data collected by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will assess the effect of trends in global scrap metal prices on trends in the levels of (a) opportunistic and (b) organised theft of metals from (i) public and (ii) private property. (220640)

We are supporting the Association of Chief Police Officers led Scrap Metal Theft working group to address the problem of metal theft and will be working closely with all stakeholders and Government Departments to establish effective responses to the problem.

The ACPO working group have produced a problem profile which identified various levels of criminality from low level offenders to some evidence of organised crime groups starting to venture into metal theft. The police analysis shows increased criminal activity at low and organised ends are driven by increased price of scrap metal. The problem profile was used as the basis for the development of the working group’s strategy to address the issue.

Regardless of the level of criminality it is clear that the consequences of metal theft can be significant for local communities, businesses and the national infrastructure.