The number of thefts and devastations of telecommunications infrastructure decreases. While in the years 2011-2012 over 10 thousand such cases per year were reported, in the last year the number decreased by more than half - as can be seen from the data collected by signatories of the Memorandum against the theft of infrastructure.
It does not mean that the problem disappears. On the contrary, losses suffered due to it by telecommunications, energy and rail sectors are still high in Poland. Their total value in the last year can be estimated at PLN 40.8 million.
Still, despite reducing scale of this phenomenon, telecommunications operators are the most affected as their losses arising from the theft and devastation of infrastructure amounted to PLN 14.6 million last year. It was an effect of 5,103 events of this type that were noted in this sector in 2014. For comparison, loses in the rail sector amounted to PLN 13.9 million (3,977 events) and in the energy sector to PLN 12.3 million (2,335 events).
On the other hand, in the recent years telecommunications sector has been the most effective in fighting infrastructure theft, because in comparison to 2013 it noted a 30% decrease in the number of cases of theft and devastation of infrastructure. A decrease was also noted in the three sectors in total but it was lower, at the level of 16%. According to the signatories of the Memorandum against theft, result of the telecommunications sector was mainly achieved thanks to Orange Polska and its intensive and effective activities in this respect.
In 2014 the highest number of cases of theft and devastation of infrastructure occurred in Dolnośląskie, Śląskie and Mazowieckie voivodeships.
The results of infrastructure theft are not only financial losses incurred by specific companies, but it also entails serious social costs. One of the affected groups are for example rail passengers - last year more than 11.5 thousand trains were delayed because of theft of railway infrastructure. In the case of energy, due to such incidents more than 33 thousand customers were temporarily cut off from electricity supply. As far as telecommunications is concerned, nearly 200 thousand customers were suddenly and unexpectedly cut off from services.
That is why, in the opinion of the signatories of the Memorandum against theft, actions to combat infrastructure theft and devastation undertaken by particular companies in cooperation with the police, shall be further intensified. It concerns especially rail infrastructure where stolen and devastated infrastructure poses the highest threat to health and lives of people. This year under the memorandum it is planned, among others, to organise workshops and conferences enhancing such cooperation. It is also planned to launch Platform for Incidents of Theft and Devastation of Infrastructure, where such cases will be recorded.
In order to improve communication and sharing information about the activities undertaken within the framework of the Memorandum a new website shall be launched, which is expected in September. - It can be seen that under the Memorandum, initiated by the presidents of UKE, ERO and UTK, many initiatives have been undertaken that not only effectively contributed to the decrease in the number of thefts, but above all increased public awareness of these phenomena
- says Marzena Śliz, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Memorandum’s Signatories.
According to her, the fact that the works carried out within the Memorandum were on 29 October 2013 included into the catalogue of activities under the government program "Together for safety" aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, is a great success of this initiative, which currently brings specific results. - We cooperate also with international organizations. We have signed a letter of intent with the SIPAM organization from Germany, which works to combat theft and brings together many actors. Recently a representative of the memorandum participated in a workshop held in Brussels on June 25 and the conference on July 15 in Berlin. In both events information on the Memorandum and the results that have been achieved within the framework of our activity were presented. The activities focus on three areas: legislation, collecting data on events and changing the society's attitudes towards the phenomena of theft and devastation of infrastructure
- says Marzena Śliz.
In the framework of the Memorandum also a draft legislative amendments to the law on waste as regards the activity of scrap metal collection points, has been prepared. - We propose that in the case of a single transaction exceeding the amount of PLN 200, payments were made through a bank account. The draft, after approval of the presidents of market regulators, will be submitted to the Ministry of Economy
- explains Marzena Śliz.