This afternoon (27th April 2021) Greg Smith MP used a House of Commons procedure known as a "10 Minute Rule Motion" to call for new legislation to tackle tool theft.
His proposed Bill would require people selling second-hand tools on online marketplaces to reveal a serial number, in a searchable format, for each item. By making serial numbers, as unique identifiers, searchable this will help track down stolen goods and hopefully cut off the ability for criminals to monetise their stolen items.
The idea from this Bill came from a discussion on a local community Facebook forum, after a spate of tool thefts in the town of Buckingham last year. Greg was delighted to be able to bring the idea to the Commons, raising awareness of the issue.
More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of tool theft and the crimewave is wreaking havoc to lives and livelihoods of tradespeople across the country, including right here in Buckinghamshire.
More than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years, according to Direct Line for Business. This equates to £83,500 of equipment going missing every day. More than a quarter (28%) are stolen from vehicles, while a fifth (20%)are taken from private residences and just 10 per cent go missing from worksites or places of business. The average value of a reported stolen tool is £385, so the overall figure for the industry is substantial. One local tradesman recently lost over 40k of tools and the case has yet to be resolved. Only a tiny amount, 3% of the tools, are ever reunited with owners, which means that tradesman have lost more than £80 million worth of tools in the last three years.
Greg said: "With the current session of Parliament coming to an end soon, and a new Queens Speech scheduled for May, the Bill agreed to this afternoon is unlikely to come back in its current form. That is a procedural quirk of the system. Indeed, very few Bills originally presented as 10 minute rule motions ever become law in their own right. The point is to ensure the case is made, as part of the process of persuading the government to adopt the idea themselves within a government bill in the future. I will keep banging the drum on this, and if necessary bring it back as backbench business in the new session of Parliament."