Belgium Boosts Standards for Secure Truck Parking Areas and uses the LABEL Model for a New EU Resolution
In 2005, the Belgian Federal Public Service Home Affairs launched a project on secured parking areas. The reason for initiating the project was the significant rise in cargo thefts, representing a double threat: economical and in security. First of all, cargo theft represents a big economic loss for the supply chain economy, putting economic competitiveness at risk. Secondly, it puts at risk the security of drivers, directly and indirectly. The psychological impact of unsecured environments on drivers has to be considered as one of the main elements to be tackled.
The objective of the Belgian initiative was to support and develop pilot projects for secured truck parking areas, in order to assess whether the establishment of secured parking areas is useful and constitutes a reliable method for preventing cargo theft. In parallel, Belgian police forces turned their attention towards organised and itinerant crime, leading to positive results. But the fact remained that a generic and preventive approach was still very much needed. And needless to say that the surveillance of parking areas on a 24 hour basis generally exceeds the main activities of police forces. The private security industry was therefore associated with the project from the start. Other partners included several regional governments, organisations representing the road haulage industry, the insurance industry, law enforcement authorities, etc. All parties were grouped in an advisory platform.
This platform carried out the implementation of pilot projects and developed a set of security standards. It was rapidly discovered that the same exercise was being carried out at the European level, namely by the SETPOS project. At that very moment, the LABEL project was launched and the Belgian Home Office decided to become a member of the LABEL Advisory Board. Consequently, and to avoid the establishment of 27 different sets of security levels for secured truck parking areas throughout Europe, Belgium agreed to adapt and align its specifications to the LABEL model.
Belgium held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of 2010. This was an excellent opportunity to put the problem of cargo theft and the idea of secured parking areas on the political agenda and, as a positive result, Belgium elaborated a Council Resolution “On Combating Road Freight Crime and Providing Secure Truck Parking Areas”. We are glad that the resolution was adopted on 8 November 2010 by the EU Ministers of Internal Affairs and Justice.
The Resolution refers, among other things, to the SETPOS & LABEL projects, the ITS Directive (2010/40/EU) and the Europol cargo theft report (The Hague, 2009). The Resolution explicitly expresses the need for developing one single model of classification for security standards applying to truck parking areas, better suited to reducing cargo theft across the EU and in parallel, to fight the trafficking of human beings.
The Resolution foresees that each Member State should set up a consultation platform dealing, among other things, with the fight against cargo theft and the main responsibility of which is to act as the single point of contact for the issue of cargo theft in general and secured parking areas in specific (covering the exchange of non-operational information). The Resolution integrates, and thereby makes official, the LABEL categories for secure truck parking areas and asks Member States to progressively set up a model for secure truck parking areas using the LABEL model.
The Resolution states that reducing road freight crime implies the shared responsibility of public and private stakeholders. The Resolution calls upon the EU Commission to pursue its efforts in combating cargo-related crime. It also calls upon professional representative organisations to play an active role in the follow-up of this model for secure truck parking areas.
To introduce the resolution and the LABEL results, the Belgian Presidency was glad to jointly host the conference “Heading For More Safe And Secure Truck Parking Areas” on 25 and 26 October in Brussels, with the European Commission.
The text of the resolution can be downloaded here.