CBI Conference: Property crime - Task force will be established to curb burglaries and fraud

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The Independent Online
A TASK FORCE to tackle property crime led by a senior insurance industry executive was announced yesterday by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary.

The taskforce's aim will be to curb the pounds 50bn annual cost of theft, vandalism, fraud and other related crimes.

Mr Straw told the CBI conference the new Property Crime Reduction Action Team would look particularly at ways of tackling repeat burglaries and mapping crime patterns.

The task force will be led by Mark Wood of Axa-SunLife & Provincial Holdings and will include representatives of the insurance industry, the police and fire services, commercial organisations and central and local government.

Mr Straw said the team would also examine ways of designing products so they are more difficult to steal.

Some manufacturers have already made items such as mobile phones, videos and cars less easy to steal by implanting in them computer chips that either immobilise the equipment or enable it to be tracked electronically.

In another drive to combat crime, the Home Secretary said the Government was investing pounds 150m to install more closed-circuit securitycameras in built-up areas of England and Wales over the next three years.

A CCTV pilot scheme on Oxford Street in London - perhaps the busiest shopping area of the country - led to a 50 per cent drop in pick-pocketing incidents in its first six weeks of operation.