Author Bio ▼

IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
August 16, 2022


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Logistics security

Securing logistics – Protecting drivers, vehicles and cargo in transit

Security continues to be a major concern for those operating across supply chain and logistics. According to TAPA, the number of incidents of cargo crime reported for the UK via their Incident Information Service (IIS) in 2020 was 3,100, a 250% increase from 2019, with an estimated total loss to the industry of £77 million.

Mike Maltezakis, Business Integration and Development Director of G4S EME, outlines the threats and the solutions that can be put in place to protect drivers and their cargoes.

Methods of attack on vehicles, drivers and cargo

The most popular items to be targeted in UK cargo crime included electronics, mobile phones, clothing/footwear, food/drinks and tobacco. However, there is evidence that, because of heightened security around such items, crime is being displaced to other products that are easier to steal and move on.

The modus operandi of criminals’ changes over time, however, with most attacks on vehicles giving the driver little time to respond – security awareness and support for drivers is therefore key.

That said, in Europe there have been incidents where gangs of thieves have driven up close to the backs of lorries, gained access to the trailer, ‘surfed’ into it and then stolen the goods without the driver even being aware.

In the UK, deception is used more, with criminals stopping lorries by posing as police or Vehicle and Operator Services Agency personnel. Sometimes they present themselves as being from the delivery depot, appearing in staff uniforms or high visibility jackets and trying to divert the delivery in what is known as a ‘round the corner theft.’ They often use excuses such as a flooded warehouse, a broken forklift, or long queues ahead. Once the driver has parked up, the vehicle is an easy target.

A delivery vehicle is at its most vulnerable when it is stationary or parked, especially if it is not in an official secured parking lot. Although routes are planned to try and avoid such risks, sometimes due to delays or non-compliance, drivers may find themselves in a non-secure area. In such instances the vehicle is vulnerable to thieves who have time to gain entry and steal cargo or otherwise compromise the load. Likewise, illegal immigrants wishing to make their way to the UK will use any opportunity to gain access in such areas.

Preventative measures to attack in transit

Although the methods of attack for cargo theft are getting more sophisticated, so too are the solutions. These include incorporating telematics to monitor vehicles and assets using GPS technology, remote immobilisers, sensors, as well as on-board diagnostics and CCTV.


Having these systems connected via the GSM network allows near real-time notification of alarms relating to locks, doors, vehicle position and status, which may indicate an intrusion or an event requiring a prompt action. In addition to security measures, telematics can also be used to send data about the temperature of the truck, vital for cold chain distribution and some pharmaceutical products.

For the modern business, the first priority has to be to prevent putting staff in danger and meeting the employer duty of care. It is critical that, when an incident occurs, a suitable system or process is in place. There are several emerging technologies to support the safety and welfare of the drivers, including:

  • Fixed or wireless panic devices to help the driver feel safe in the cabin by providing a simple means of raising a silent alarm should an emergency happen.
  • Lone working devices to allow the driver to quickly establish communication in the event of an emergency.
  • In-cab CCTV that monitors driver wellbeing and can alert on indication of lack of concentration or fatigue.
  • Smart security systems that can secure the cabin whilst the driver is asleep and alert them of any attempt of intrusion.

Clearly these devices are only as good as the service that is offered by the monitoring station when support is needed. The monitoring station should provide active monitoring on a 24/7 basis for identification of any deviation from the Standard Operating Procedure throughout the designated route, incident verification and validation and then follow an established incident management process.

This involves coordinating a response in alignment with pre agreed procedures. It could involve notifying several stakeholders, liaising with blue light, mobile unit dispatch and onsite response, dispatch of a static guard or even a cargo escort service.

This becomes increasingly important for cross border transportation where a driver is moving across countries and exposed to different threats whilst in transit.

A key focus in any transport security programme is the safety and wellbeing of the driver. G4S offers various training sessions, route-based risk assessments, as well as state of the art technology. This is supported by our remote monitoring service and a European response network which ensures that we can assist drivers around the clock when they need it, wherever they are.


Listen to the IFSEC Insider podcast!

Each month, the IFSEC Insider (formerly IFSEC Global) Security in Focus podcast brings you conversations with leading figures in the physical security industry. Covering everything from risk management principles and building a security culture, to the key trends ahead in tech and initiatives on diversity and inclusivity, the podcast keeps security professionals up to date with the latest hot topics in the sector.

Available online, and on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, tune in for an easy way to remain up to date on the issues affecting your role.


Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments