David Hanson MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister, responding to the launch of Graham Jones’ Private Members’ Bill to tackle metal theft, which is due to be read in the House of Commons tomorrow, said:
“I am very pleased that a Labour MP Graham Jones has brought forward this important Bill which will be heard in the House of Commons tomorrow.
“The Bill echoes Labour’s frontbench calls for tough and urgent new action to stop metal theft from getting out of control.
“We have called for the Government to change the law to make it easier stop this organised crime at a time when we are seeing the desecration of war memorials, when households face repeated power cuts, commuters face increasing delays and churches and public buildings are being damaged. The theft of electric wires is even putting lives at risk.
“Faced with crime on this scale, the Government is being far too slow to act. It is still too easy to trade stolen metal. We need a much tougher licensing regime for dealers, including requiring people selling to scrap metal dealers to prove their identity, and stronger powers for the police to investigate. We need to support legitimate trade but make it easier to stop organised crime.
“When cases are becoming increasingly serious, the Home Office shouldn’t turn a blind eye or just leave it to the police. We need action.”
1. Labour’s Position
Labour has put forward a four point plan to tackle metal theft. This plan is also supported by British Transport Police, Association of Chief Police Officers & by the Neighbourhood Watch:
1. Tougher police powers to close rogue traders down.
2. Anyone selling scrap to provide proof of identity, recorded at point of sale.
3. Licensing scrap metal dealers, rather than current registration with Local Authority.
4. Look into possibility and effectiveness of banning cash transactions especially for large scale/high value scrap metal transactions.
These measures would allow legitimate trade to continue whilst making it harder and more expensive for organised crime and opportunistic thieves to profit from metal theft.