Update on petrol theft reporting method

Public news

Service station operators have long been frustrated by the time it takes to report a petrol theft drive off and the difficulties in providing enough evidence of the intent to not pay. The MTA has been working with the SAPOL Stakeholder Community Engagement Section, Petrol Theft Reduction Committee to streamline the reporting process to SAPOL.

As a result, SAPOL has now changed the way in which service station operators report a drive off to police.

Petrol theft is often part of a wider chain of offending and petrol stations can play a vital role in passing on important information to SAPOL about vehicles that have been involved in a previous crime and petrol theft, hopefully resulting in the successful apprehension of a repeat offender.

Through immediate reporting of a petrol theft, we can play a significant part in the successful prosecution of offenders.

The old petrol theft reporting system required a service station operator to call the SAPOL call centre who would then require the operator to complete a prescribed form and send to SAPOL via fax. SAPOL would then determine if the information given was sufficient to follow up and complete a Police Incident Report. This old system resulted in days or weeks of call backs to the initial service station operator who made the report.

The new system, which was implemented on June 1 this year, eliminates the need for a service station attendant to fill out and send a fax to SAPOL. Service station operators are now required to give as much information as possible in the initial phone call to the SAPOL officer. A report will either be taken at the time, or the service station operator will be put on a call back list to take the operator’s Police Incident Report. Once that has occurred, all SAPOL patrols in the area will be notified of the situation.

Importantly, service station operators must provide a screenshot of CCTV footage showing the vehicle’s registration plate and an image of the alleged offender.

The email address for forwarding any still shots of suspects or vehicles for assessment is: SAPOL.SCAC@police.sa.gov.au

The success of the new system relies on a service station operator giving as much detail as possible about the vehicle and the person involved in the drive off. This includes:

  • Recording accurately the vehicles registration number
  • The type and colour of the vehicle
  • Description of the person involved in the drive off
  • Whether or not CCTV footage is available

Any extra details that can be given in regards to the situation that the service station operator deems relevant. The more details that are available to SAPOL, the more likley it is to lead to an apprehension.

Victoria is already starting to implement a new number plate recognition system, Auror, at service stations and shopping centre car parks that detect serial offenders in relation to drive offs. The MTA will continue to monitor systems being implemented and monitor their effectiveness in relation to apprehending repeat petrol theft offenders, as well as their ability to provide a streamlined petrol theft reporting process.