T-Trak: Trespasser Tracking to tackle multi-million pound problem

Mapping security breaches to illegal encampments

An ini­tia­tive that helps iden­ti­fy sites at risk and secure them before they become occu­pied by unau­tho­rised tres­passers camps, has been suc­cess­ful­ly tri­alled and launched by the prop­er­ty secu­ri­ty spe­cial­ist, VPS.

Data for all break-ins and attempt­ed secu­ri­ty breach­es on the 30,000 UK-wide premis­es that VPS looks after, is analysed, and com­bined with addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion from social media, crime reports, trav­eller reports and coun­cil web­sites. VPS col­lates and devel­ops the results to pro­vide advanced intel as and when the encamp­ments move on, enabling them to map the next like­ly hotspots’, warn­ing their cus­tomers of poten­tial unau­tho­rised encamp­ments and tres­passers aris­ing in their region.

VPS car­ry out 116,000 site inspec­tions annu­al­ly across the UK, and their video mon­i­tor­ing cen­tre receives 42,000 alarm calls week­ly. Its guard­ing and response team col­late all that data and map it to detect spe­cif­ic hotspots’ of tres­pass­er activity.

The VPS Tres­pass­er Track­ing Advanced Knowl­edge (T‑TRAK) ini­tia­tive helps landown­ers and prop­er­ty man­agers to avoid the cost­ly removal and clear-up of tem­po­rary encamp­ments, which can run into tens of thou­sands of pounds at a time.

The UK gov­ern­ment pub­lished a con­sul­ta­tion this year into unau­tho­rised tres­pass­er encamp­ments as the record num­bers of car­a­vans almost tripled between 1979 and 2019[1]. Their report recount­ed sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems cre­at­ed by unau­tho­rised encampments[2], includ­ing crim­i­nal activ­i­ty and costs once the encamp­ment has moved on, esti­mat­ed to be tens of mil­lions of pounds annu­al­ly to local author­i­ties and pri­vate landowners[3].

One exam­ple cit­ed 200 unau­tho­rised set­tle­ments in just one bor­ough over the last 3 years.

The oppor­tu­ni­ty to put T‑Trak to the test came ear­li­er this year with the Apple­by Horse Fair, Europe’s biggest horse trade gath­er­ing, play­ing host to around 30,000 atten­dees. By shar­ing their col­lat­ed intel with clients, VPS could assist them to mit­i­gate the tem­porar­i­ly increased risk from unau­tho­rised trespassing.

Move­ments of encamp­ments were tracked across the UK as they head­ed towards the Fair, allow­ing VPS to alert cus­tomers with prop­er­ties with­in 50 miles of the expect­ed routes. Advanced warn­ing meant short-term enhanced secu­ri­ty mea­sures could pro­tect clients’ prop­er­ties at times of increased vulnerability.

In anoth­er exam­ple, last week two secu­ri­ty guards and dog han­dlers were sent to a site after three squat­ters had gained access to a clien­t’s premis­es in Enfield, North Lon­don. Using the T‑Trak ini­tia­tive, fur­ther intel was gath­ered by VPS, and indi­cat­ed that up to 100 squat­ters were on the move in the region. The secu­ri­ty pres­ence was increased imme­di­ate­ly, and mul­ti­ple attempts to gain access through­out the night were pre­vent­ed. The three squat­ters left the premis­es on their own accord and the prop­er­ty was re-secured.

Since putting this ini­tia­tive to the test, we have had some great feed­back from clients about the speed of the response and the time it has giv­en them to put in place addi­tion­al extra secu­ri­ty mea­sures tem­porar­i­ly, until the tres­passers have moved away.” Says Jose Rosa, VPS Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices Guard­ing and Alarms Man­ag­er. It has shown how use­ful it is to col­late all the intel togeth­er and pass that on to customers.”


[1] Page 7 Fig­ure 3: num­ber of car­a­vans 1979 – 2019 https://​assets​.pub​lish​ing​.ser​vice​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​s​y​s​t​e​m​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​a​t​t​a​c​h​m​e​n​t​_​d​a​t​a​/​f​i​l​e​/​806650​/​T​r​a​v​e​l​e​r​_​C​a​r​a​v​a​n​_​C​o​u​n​t​_​R​e​l​e​a​s​e.pdf

[2] Page 6 and 7, The Case for Action https://​assets​.pub​lish​ing​.ser​vice​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​s​y​s​t​e​m​/​u​p​l​o​a​d​s​/​a​t​t​a​c​h​m​e​n​t​_​d​a​t​a​/​f​i​l​e​/​776942​/​U​n​a​u​t​h​o​r​i​s​e​d​_​d​e​v​e​l​o​p​m​e​n​t​_​a​n​d​_​e​n​c​a​m​p​m​e​n​t​s​_​r​e​s​p​o​n​s​e.pdf

[3] Unau­tho­rised encamp­ment on their way to Apple­by Fair cause over £300,000 dam­age to Thwait­es Brew­ery in Black­burn https://​www​.lan​cashire​.police​.uk/​n​e​w​s​/​2019​/​f​e​b​r​u​a​r​y​/​m​e​n​-​s​e​n​t​e​n​c​e​d​-​a​f​t​e​r​-​e​x​t​e​n​s​i​v​e​-​d​a​m​a​g​e​-​a​n​d​-​t​h​e​f​t​-​a​t​-​t​h​w​a​i​t​e​s​-​site/

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Caravan numbers have tripled