Service stations owners united at the Convenience and Fuel Industry Conference 2012 in Melbourne, launching a National Drive-off Register to stop drive-off crime.

The Register will be used by the petrol convenience industry and police to catch criminals. The database and reporting mechanism, which has been built by ACAPMA and MotorMouth, will help record and follow up on incidents that occur at service stations.

Nic Moulis, ACAPMA CEO, said the National Drive-off Register provides the framework that aims to reduce criminal activity on service station forecourts around Australia.

“Over two years ago, the ACAPMA Board decided that there was a need for such a scheme after information from members indicated an increase in the number of incidents involving drive-offs and failure-to-pay,” he said.

“These crimes have an overwhelming effect on communities in terms of safety and cost; and impact greatly on resources of the petrol convenience industry and the police.”

Delegates were told that pre-payment, while a solution during certain times of trading, would have a great effect on Australia’s productivity.

“Our industry serves millions of customers each day, pre-paid will slow transaction times and this will impact Australia’s productivity. We believe truck drivers, tradespeople, taxis, couriers and many others will be delayed, causing an increase in the cost of them doing business,” Moulis said.

The National Drive-off Register was described as a positive example of the industry helping itself, as well as the government and police.

“The problem between the police and petrol retailers is caused by a lack of consistency in response by all parties. By taking control though the National Drive-off Register we are attempting to eliminate these issues,” Moulis said.

“We are going to manage the expectations both of the police and our industry in an efficient and realistic manner.

“Our aim, in telling criminals that drive-off crime will not be tolerated, is to safeguard and protect the well-being of service station customers and staff, while reducing crime and the fear associated with it.

“Through the activity we propose to drive across our forecourts, we will start to tell criminals that drive-offs are something they will get caught doing; that they are being watched and reported.”