Theft prevention tips for drivers and managers

We’ve compiled the following security tips and advice, which will hopefully act as a useful memory-jogger…

Top 10 tips for drivers

  • Remove keys and lock vehicle doors whenever vehicle is left unattended, even for a second. This includes when paying for fuel, buying a paper, making a delivery or receiving instructions 

  • Drive with the doors locked in order to deter thieves who may try to enter the vehicle when it is stationary. If anti-theft systems are fitted, make sure they’re working and use them 

  • Park overnight at approved locations if possible, and avoid dark, isolated places. Try to park in a way that prevents access to the rear doors 

  • If you’re asked to re-deliver to a new address, always check with your traffic office first and wait for confirmation before moving on.  

  • Try to travel in convoy with other trusted drivers when delivering high value or vulnerable loads. Be aware of bogus officials (who could be wearing stolen uniforms) or distractions: drivers may be alerted or stopped by 'other drivers' for supposed punctures, accidents, rear shutter insecure or door open, someone seeking help/directions etc 

  • In conjunction with the above point, we recommend using a Vulnerable Load Card to discourage opportunist bogus thieves. (The card is kept in the driver's cab and states that the driver is instructed not to open his door but is prepared to follow an officer to the police station to do so - it won't stop the professional gang but might deter the opportunist) 

  • Keep documentation about your load safely tucked out of sight. Don't talk to others about what you're doing, where you're going or what you're carrying 

  • If you realise a theft from your vehicle is going on, don't leave the safety of your cab. Lock the doors, start the engine, switch on the lights and if necessary, sound the horn to attract attention 

  • When returning to an unattended vehicle, always check for signs of tampering with doors, seals, straps or sheets 

  • Most thefts are opportunistic and not carefully planned - keep alert 

Advice for managers

Theft prevention is mostly common sense

Make sure your company's theft prevention policy covers 'in the warehouse', 'in the yard' and 'on the road'.

Careful recruitment is vital

Collusion between your existing staff and new employees is a major source of theft, according to police. Good interview questions include ‘Why do you want the job?’, ‘Are friends or family already working here?’, ‘Do you have any court cases pending?’, and ‘Why is there a gap in your career history? (Anything from three months upwards may be at Her Majesty's pleasure!). Ask plenty of tricky questions.

Watch busy times of the year

During busy periods, drivers may be put on additional routes, warehouse staff may be roped in as temporary drivers and agency staff recruited. All these situations can create weaknesses in your company's security procedures, so be extra alert for anything unusual.

Commercial vehicles and their loads are a tempting target for thieves – but you can reduce the risks.

Tips for reducing the risk of vehicle and load theft

Vehicle keys: Make sure keys are stored in a locked unit when not in use. Limit the number of staff that have access and place it in an area not easily accessible to others.

Vehicle storage: Make your site secure. Facilities should include locked gates, perimeter fences or walls, CCTV and security lighting.

Paperwork: Keep vehicle documents in a safe place that's free from fire risk. Make a record of who loads the vehicle, which driver is operating it, the destination of the load and the recipient.

Loading vigilance: Ensure your loading area is discreet and that you know who is loading the vehicle. Is there an inventory system or a loading supervisor?

Employee background: Check the history of new employees, gathering references from previous employers and checking the identity of individuals via driving licence, national insurance card, etc.

Training: Loading operatives and drivers will benefit from training that highlights security risks. Training also shows the company is aware of the risk of theft and looking to deter would-be thieves. Training should include advice on load and vehicle securing, and what to do if there is a change of delivery location or recipient of goods.

Driver safety: Drivers need clear instructions for deliveries, access to a company contact (especially in 24-hour operations), and a plan of action in the event of a hijack, vehicle or load theft.

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More information

Find out more about road freight security and industry security groups.