A senior police boss has recommended that petrol companies force drivers to pay for their petrol in advance of filling up in order to reduce rising crime figures.
Simon Cole of the National Police Chiefs’ Council believes that petrol providers could do more to reduce the rise in fuel theft throughout the UK by following measures which have been successfully put in place in other countries.
Mr Cole, who is the Chief Constable for Leicestershire said that firms currently make it too easy for customers to simply drive off without paying for their fuel and that the petrol stations should follow the United States where almost all filling stations require customers to pay first.
25,000 people are reported to ‘bilk’ (cheat) the system each year by avoiding payment, a number which in some areas has risen 40% since last year.
Talking to the Telegraph, Mr Cole said:
“The petroleum industry could design out bilking in 30 seconds by making people pay up front, which is what they do in other countries,”
“They don’t, because the walk in their shops is part of their business offer.”
These claims have however been rejected by the Petrol Retailers’ Association. The association’s commercial manager, Gordon Balmer, said that the ideas put forward were “not quite as simple” as Simon Cole suggested and would come at great expense for the petrol stations.
Mr Balmer claims that Mr Cole’s recommendations would cost each petrol station at least £20,000 and would involve them changing all petrol pumps to pumps that are able to take card payments before fuelling.
The recommendations come as police forces across the country look to refocus their efforts and reduce smaller, more preventable crimes. According to The Sun, in some areas, police are no longer investigating thefts under £50 unless there’s proof of criminal intent or other criminality.