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Energy and Utility Site Security – Prevention and Retention

Construction sites today are witnessing an increase in criminal activity such as fly-tipping, plant and material theft, costing the industry over £800m per year in the UK alone. CEO, Brian Berry from the Federation of Master Builders, stated: “More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves…

Construction site managers have a duty of responsibility to minimise security risks wherever possible, as even ‘minor’ tool thefts can often bring projects to a complete halt. Due diligence is not only crucial for keeping projects moving and assets safe, but often required for insurance purposes too.

A particularly disturbing trend is the rising theft from solar farms and utility sites, where stolen cable and other assets have often left sites crippled. This type of theft is rarely opportunistic, and usually involves high-level planning and specialist equipment and vehicles to move these high-value materials.

As a leading supplier of temporary CCTV security products throughout the UK and Ireland, we have worked with a wide range of customers within this sector, from national power grids to independent solar farms. Within this blog, we’ll be discussing some key security measures that can help site managers prevent theft and further protect their assets.

Theft prevention

Material theft, particularly metal and cabling, has been an ongoing issue for many energy and utility site owners, with huge financial risks for those involved. Aside from the initial value of materials, this type of theft often has a serious knock-on effect causing downtime that can often cost significantly more than the physical price of the asset.

We always advise that the first line of defence should always be prevention, as it is far better to deter ‘would be’ thieves from attempting criminal activities in the first place. As energy and utility farms are often quite vast, securing these larger areas can often be more challenging than regular construction sites so we would recommend the following measures –

Signage is an effective deterrent against theft and should be the first ‘obstacle’ that intruders face. We always advise that perimeter signage warning of active CCTV, guards or other security measures should be highly visible along the perimeter to deter criminal activity. Sites without an effective perimeter solution are at much higher risk than those with adequate fencing, lighting and signage in place.

CCTV security towers are not only an effective deterrent, but also bring a wide range of other benefits. At 7m tall, our towers are highly visible and designed to provide around the clock security at a fraction of the cost of manned guarding, which this blog covers in more detail. These towers are monitored 24/7/365 and provides both our control team and customers with instant access to real-time HD footage covering high value site locations.

For increased efficiency and cost savings, our towers have a peripheral range of up to 1km which can cover much wider areas than standard conventional CCTV systems, meaning fewer towers are required to cover critical areas. With additional features such as infra-red night vision, live audio alerts, object identification and time-lapse, we can deter trespassers instantly before authorities are even alerted.

Asset retention

Retaining your assets is the next best outcome in the event of an actual theft occurring. We partner with Selectamark to offer their ‘SelectaDNA’ solutions which are ideal for the protection of utilities and solar energy sites against acquisitive crime, as they can protect assets such as cable, metal, tools and high-value equipment from theft or loss. Through the use of DNA markers, sprays, grease and gels, assets are forensically coded to mark and identify assets and valuable materials to deter theft and help police secure convictions. This service can dramatically increase your chances of being reunited with stolen assets that are recovered.

SelectaMARK carry out regular complimentary training sessions with UK Police Forces in order to ensure they know how to find traces of SelectaDNA, and how to take samples to be analysed. They also provide training for officers who are responsible for the distribution of SelectaDNA kits to members of the public during burglary reductions campaigns, so they can explain how the product works and how to use it.

As an additional deterrent warning stickers and signage on anything that has been forensically marked has proven to deter thieves from stealing assets in the first place and SelectaMARK supplies a comprehensive range of warning signs and stickers for customer use.

Our CCTV recordings can also be used to support criminal prosecution and asset retrieval in the event of theft through the submission of HD footage which can efficiently identify people or vehicles.

    Customised security solutions

    By adopting a dual layered approach to site security, you will significantly reduce the chance of theft occurring and also increase the ability to retrieve assets quickly in the event of a crime taking place. This allows sites to operate more efficiently and with significantly lower risk of lengthy interruptions and additional costs resulting from asset theft.

    We offer a range of solutions designed to help site managers protect their assets, whilst also complying with insurance requirements. These services include –

    CCTV Towers

    SelectaDNA Forensic Marking Solutions

    Security Guarding Services

    Perimeter Fencing

    Security Signage

    Fly-tipping Clearance Services

    We hope that this information has been useful. When performing site assessments, we will always take individual site factors into consideration, and based on these, work with our customers to provide the most practical and cost-effective solution. By providing a one stop shop of security options for our customers, we can make the process even easier and reduce costs further with a package of options.

    If you would like to discuss this with our team, then simply get in touch and we will be happy to supply more information, arrange a free site assessment or simply have a quick chat.

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