Information published on 26 May 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 450.

Cross-sector coalition calls for EU-wide action against metal theft

  • Security

In support of the cross-sector coalition against metal theft, UIC has jointly published a statement that aims to raise awareness of the metal theft on the railways phenomena.

This type of crime causes considerable service disruptions and costs with replacing and repairing the damage. The loss of communications, energy and transport systems can sometimes put in danger public safety and security.

Stolen metals are often transported across several borders (EU and Non-EU), far away from the actual scene of the crime, being sold as scrap or for recycling. Thus, both national and international cooperation and collaboration initiatives are needed to raise awareness, providing expertise and best practices to allow the exchange of ideas between all actors involved.

In the several actions against metal theft, at a technical and strategic level, the UIC Metal Theft WG members are very pleased with the growing level of collaboration in this field between railways, law enforcement, security authorities and the private sector across Europe, working collaboratively with its members as well as with the national and international authorities. It is within this spirit that UIC joins and supports this initiative of the Cross-sector coalition against metal theft.

Metal theft is far from being mitigated and is in fact affecting multiple industries and by consequence society. Railways in particular cannot afford to be passive and wait for others to take action on their behalf. Rail’s response to this problem can and must be consistent across Europe having as a common and single objective “Mitigate metal theft and its impacts on railway users.”

Eleven associations representing the energy, railway, public transport and recycling industry – all highly affected by metal theft – are calling on EU policy makers to take action to prevent and counter metal theft in Europe. The newly formed coalition is issuing a common statement setting out the areas in which EU-wide action is necessary to counter the phenomenon.

The coalition aims to raise awareness about the negative effects of metal theft on the functioning and quality of services of general interest and its overall impact on public life.

In their common statement, the associations urge EU policy makers to take appropriate steps in three areas in which Europe-wide action and cooperation is needed to complement measures already in force at national level and initiatives already undertaken by the concerned stakeholders:

1. Proper implementation and enforcement of existing waste legislation across Europe is crucial in order to prohibit uncontrolled management of metal waste and scrap. In addition, proposing new measures linked to the identification of metal waste and scrap buyers and sellers should be considered in order to allow for more efficient and effective investigations and prosecution of metal theft crime.
2. The cross-border nature of metal theft and its ties to organised crime need enhanced international coordination and cooperation between law-enforcement authorities and better exchange of data.
3. Common definitions and sanctions need to be introduced in order to make foreseen penalties for metal theft proportional to the actual impact and cost of the crime.

The coalition is actively advocating these measures in order to ensure that concerns related to metal theft are duly taken into consideration by the EU policy-makers.

For further information please contact José Pires: pires@uic.org