Wroclaw – Poland – 27th To 29th October 2010
As a representative of the United Kingdom Branch of IAATI, I had the pleasure to attend, and below is a report on that Conference, and the content.
The Conference started on the evening of the 27th with the arrival of the delegates and registration.
Later that evening was a President’s Reception and Buffet, where those delegates who had arrived were treated to a buffet reception and the opportunity to meet old friends, and make new, and to network.
Of those people that I met and spoke to, one of the recurring themes was that it was the hope of the European members of IAATI, that a closer link should be forged with the United Kingdom, and if mutually beneficial that eventually both Branches should join, or at the very least hold joint Conferences.
The Conference opened the following morning by the European President Hans Kooijman, and also an address from the Police Commandant; Zbigniew Maciejewski of the Wroclaw Police, who welcomed everybody to the Conference. . He told the delegates that in 1999 in his city fifteen cars a day were stolen, and that the latest figures for 2009 showed that this had been reduced to three cars a day. He stated that the success of this decrease was due to the organisation of Special Squad and Intelligence gathering.
An address was also given by John O’Byrne from Australia, who was representing the International Board, on behalf of the International President; O’Donnell. John O’Byrne told the conference that it was IAATI’s goal to continue training and bring professionals together in the fight against automotive crime. He asked the delegates to take what they would learn from the Seminar back to their respective countries and to pass it on to their colleagues and others involved in the fight against vehicle crime.
An address was then given by Renato Schipani from Interpol. He told the Conference that Interpol had representation in 188 different countries, and that part of the Interpol Organisation dealt with the organised trafficking of stolen motor vehicles. He stated that this was all intelligence lead, and that they were the conduit to disseminate intelligence throughout the world to their member countries.
He also pointed out that Interpol in partnership with the private sector also gave training in vehicle identification and investigation to those members who required it. He stated that this training was badged as ‘Formatrain.’ This training was a standardised training programme providing coordinated vehicle training. The course is 5 days 3 days in the classroom, concentrating on all types of vehicles, including buses, trailers, trucks, heavy equipment and vehicle documents. He also told Conference that arising out of this training, Interpol were now able to supply an intelligence task force on stolen vehicles, including, Interpol, Europol, local Law Enforcement Agencies, and also the Private Sector. In particular he highlighted, Cyprus where this training had proved highly successful.
He also gave a brief explanation of the database held by Interpol, the ASF Stolen Motor Vehicle Database, and showed that the information held on the database, was nominal, stolen vehicle documents, stolen travel documents, DNA profiles, Stolen Works of Art, Cocaine Logos, Paedophiles, Fingerprints and Stolen Vehicles. He pointed out that all this information was open to member countries.
He also told the Conference that there was a further database (MIND – Mobile Intelligence Network Data.) He explained that 129 countries upload their intelligence and data onto the database. He stated that there are 7m motor vehicles recorded on the database. Apart from the 129 who upload their data, there are 153 registered countries that use the database. Since the inception of the database their have been 27,000 positive hits on the database from 124 countries. This breaks down to 2,100 hits in 2003 when the database was incepted to 7,100 hits in 2010 to date. He did point out that the number of hits was decreasing because of the decreasing number of cars being stolen. He stated that there have been 10m searches on the database between 2009 and 2010.
A presentation was then given by a representative from the Wroclaw Registration Authority. Sorry did not get his name. He told the conference that as of present there were 400,000 motor vehicles registered with the authority in Wroclaw. 310,000 of these were motor cars and motorcycles, and 90,000 were trucks and trailers.
He then went through the procedures as to how motor vehicle was registered either from new, imported or sold from region to another. All these procedures relied heavily on documentation, and included title of ownership, the registration document from the country from which it was exported, an excise document or customs document, and if required a MOT Certificate.
He told the Conference that each month his agency send out a list to the country from which a vehicle has been imported, informing them that the vehicle is in their region, and has been registered there.
AVCIS On The CESAR Initiative
A presentation was then given by Kevin Howells from Datatag and Detective Constable Vince Wise from AVCIS, on the CESAR initiative.
It was explained to Conference that £1.15m worth of plant are stolen in the United Kingdom each week. This equates to £70m per year. In Europe the cost of stolen plant is 4.5b euros each year. Breaking this down, it is 3,500 to 4,000 each year. 300 to 400 per month or 10 to 18 pieces of plant per day. The recovery rate is 5%.
It was explained that these thefts were carried out by criminal networks who are adept and professional in what they do. It was pointed out that the majority of plant machinery is not registered, which makes it even more difficult to identify and recover. It was also pointed out that the majority of the plant and machinery was stolen whilst out on hire, and because it was the responsibility of the company hiring the vehicle to insure it, then the hire companies were not that bothered, and the security on these vehicles was low.
In order to combat this growing trend it was decided that a registration scheme should be initiated, and the CESAR Scheme was born. The Scheme was launched in 2007, and at the moment has 40,000 registered pieces of plant. Kevin Howells then showed a video as to how the Scheme works, which briefly included unique tamper-proof triangular registration stickers/plate, a ‘Datatag’ micro-chip, and also security dots on various parts of the machine. A large number of machines are now registered by the manufacturers, and all records are sent to and kept by Datatag. CESAR also run an after sales registration service.
Kevin Howells stated that to date there have been 299 machines reported stolen to them, and 85 have been recovered. The remaining pieces of plant are believed to have been exported.
Kevin Howells pointed out that 67% of plant and machinery recorded on the Police National Computer was incorrectly recorded.
After lunch the Conference then split into break-out meetings.
- Theft of Heavy Equipment
- International Co-Operation with German Police
- Transport Crime in Europe
- VIN Examination and Identification
- Vehicle Document Checks.
These were repeated after the coffee break.
Nick Mayell from The Equipment Registered then gave a presentation about Plant Theft. Because of the previous presentation, Nick Mayell decided to concentrate on what to look for when you see a piece of plant on the road.
- If the piece of plant is showing a registration plate, look if it is attached properly, there could be another registration plate underneath.
- No Registration Plate.
- The trailer on which the piece of plant is being transported is the wrong type of trailer for that piece of plant.
- He pointed out that if a large piece of machinery is being transported, then it has to be registered with the various police authorities that it will pass through. Has it been registered?
- No markings on the cab, or they look to have been removed.
- Tarpaulin over the machine. These machines are for uses outdoors, why cover it.
- The piece of machinery is not fixed or tied down.
- Because of Health and Safety most pieces of machinery are fitted with a beacon or flashing light. Is this smashed?
- When seeing curtain-sider vehicles, sometimes the curtains are sucked in as it travels along, and the outline of the vehicle or the wheels can be seen.
- The registration plates on the trailer are different to the registration plates on the drawing vehicle.
- Missing decals or livery.
Nick Mayell pointed out that only one of these pointers does not mean a lot, but he used the analogy of a poker hand. One indication means nothing, two indications means you have a pair. Three indications you have a pryle, four indications you have two pair or a four of a kind. Five indications mean that you have a ‘Full House.’
He also pointed out that the last thing you should do when you stop a piece of plant is to go straight to the identification numbers. All pieces of plant being transported should have paperwork. Most pieces of machinery have some identification like a Fleet Number. Look inside the machine; look at the ignition, glass on the floor. Check the machine for signs of grinding (if something has been ground off, why.) Look at the dashboard and the head-lining. Most thieves will remove this to look for any tracking devices. Also check the inside of the vehicle for jamming devices. Check the windows to see if they are broken, or even if the show the vehicle registration number. Check for signs that the Triangular registration plate has not been removed as it may be registered with CESAR, also if you can check for the transponder/micro-chip. The triangular registration plate has rounded ends.
The presentation on VIN Examination was given by Tomas Kazlowski from Poland, and was done through an interpreter. Unfortunately the interpreter had the problem that as he was trying to interpret, his colleague was carrying on, and therefore a lot was missed of his presentation, which really boiled down to - “Do not examine a VIN unless you are an expert, as you will get the wrong information.”
The second day opened with a presentation by a member of the Polish Border Guard Unit. He stated that because of the amount of motor vehicles coming from other countries across the border, his unit set up an especially dedicated stolen vehicle unit, and they ran a number operation for 8 hours on the Polish/Ukraine Border. The Special Squad comprised of nine officers, and between July and October 2010 they examined seized and identified 58 stolen motor vehicles. These vehicles were from mostly Germany, and Italy.
The Conference was then given a presentation by two companies who work together to repatriate stolen motor vehicles from Russia and Ukraine. We were told about three specific vehicles, a BMW from Sweden, a Porsche from France and another Porsche from Germany. Because of the beaurocacy these vehicles took, 5 years, 1.5 years and 5 years to repatriate.
In the Ukraine we were told about a Porsche Carrera which went through the courts and the vehicle was given back to the original owner. As they were picking the car up, a phone call was received stating the vehicle could not be repatriated because the judge had forgotten to sign the order. The order was eventually signed, and as they were taking the vehicle away they were ambushed by an armed gang who tried to get the vehicle back.
A Mercedes 500 was found in the Ukraine, and was found in the possession of the Police Chief who refused to give it back. It was only the intervention of the Ministry of Interior that allowed the vehicle to be given back and repatriated.
A stolen Bentley was also found in the Ukraine, but after the court case the vehicle was returned to the illegal owner, but only after he had paid the judge 50,000 dollars.
Again the Conference then went into break-out sessions, which included 1. Vehicle Document Checks, 2. Vehicle Crime in Bulgaria, 3. E-Trafficking in motor vehicles, 5. Forensic Science Systems, 6. Organised vehicle theft through the docks, and the weakness in the shipping process.
This presentation was given by Detective Constable Vince Wise, and he went through the process of getting a container out of the country, and the various companies, persons that that container passes through. He pointed out that a container that is being sent from the UK to a ‘non-suspect’ country, can in fact be re-directed whilst at sea, so that when it lands in the country it was destined for, it is immediately trans-shipped to its desired destination.
For those that do not know, a container has an identification number, which consists of four letters (the 4th being U) and seven numbers.
The Conference then re-convened, and a presentation was then given of Sibiu, Romania, where it is hoped the next conference will be held.
Having attended the conference, I have to say that I was very impressed with the organisation and the venue, and I will be making recommendations to the Seminar Committee about what I saw.
One of the other things that I thought was a nice touch was that every delegate got a certificate of attendance.
1st Vice President
IAATI Europe website – www.eb-iaati.org
Endnote: Ron Cliffe, Director of IAATI UK reported that during the summing up of the conference, Werna Postma, Executive Director of IAATI Europe made the following comment: “It is clear that most of the existing OEM vehicle security systems have been overcome by car thieves”.