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Metal Recycling News December 18, 2017 03:30:11 PM

BMRA Dismayed by Decision Not to Vitalize Scrap Metal Theft Law

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The BMRA had recommended several measures to further strengthen the Act. In the first place, it had suggested creation of a new offence of receiving cash for scrap metal.
BMRA Dismayed by Decision Not to Vitalize Scrap Metal Theft Law

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has expressed dismay after the Home Office decided not to strengthen the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (SMDA 2013) and allocate additional funds to facilitate proper enforcement of the Act. Responding to the Home Office announcement to retain the Act rather than strengthening it, the BMRA noted that it is extremely disappointed by the decision.

The BMRA had recommended several measures to further strengthen the Act. In the first place, it had suggested creation of a new offence of receiving cash for scrap metal. It had also proposed expansion of police powers by giving them the authority to inspect the vehicles used by itinerant scrap metal collectors. BMRA had also recommended harmonization of licensing renewal procedures and streamlining of the licensing application process.

The metals trading body stated that the Home Office has rejected the requests by it and other key stakeholders. By doing so, the Home Office must be prepared to take sole responsibility for rising metal theft incidents and resulting injuries caused by such incidents. It must be noted that the BMRA had repeatedly warned that recovery in metal prices would lead to sharp rise in metal theft incidents. Meantime, the Association stated that it will continue to work with the Home Office to find ways to address the shortcomings of SMDA 2013 within the existing legislation.

Earlier, the Secretary of State for the Home Department had recommended retention of SMDA 2013, further to its review. In its report, it had mentioned that the metal theft incidents have dropped significantly by nearly 75% from nearly 62,000 per year in 2012-’13 to as low as 16,000 per year in 2015-’16. Further, the report noted that only 30% of that decline is attributed solely to the Act.

Section 18 of SMDA 2013 makes it mandatory for the Secretary of State to conduct a review of the Act and publish a report within five years of the Act coming into force. Following requests by various stakeholders, the Home Office had decided to conduct an early review. Majority of the respondents had called for further strengthening of the existing legislation and the need for the legislation to be accompanied by more effective and reliable enforcement.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 was introduced to reduce metal theft by strengthening regulation of the scrap metal industry. The intention was to make it more difficult for unscrupulous dealers to trade in stolen metal as the key to reducing the incidence of metal theft.

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