Home secretary Priti Patel is looking into the issue of safe parking for lorry drivers after meeting with Freightlink Europe director Lesley O’Brien.

O’Brien was one of a number of Yorkshire business leaders asked to meet with Patel during the Home Secretary’s visit to the area last week.

O’Brien spoke to Patel about the dangers lorry drivers regularly face from organised crime gangs who steal cargo and fuels from trucks and the significant economic losses the thefts incur.

O’Brien asked for the Home Secretary to include the issue of safe parking in the government’s Beating Crime Plan, which aims to promote safer homes and communities.

The plan includes guidance on neighbourhood crime, which consists of vehicle-relate theft and theft from the person as well as robbery of personal property.

Speaking after the event O’Brien said: “The truck is often a driver’s 24/7 home. Despite the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) reporting £71.4m of stolen goods from HGVs in 2021, such theft is still treated exactly the same as theft from a car, making it low risk and high reward. Surely this is wrong?"

She added that said the benefits of clamping down on cargo and fuel thefts would have numerous benefits.

“By addressing our lack of safe and secure parking, we at the same time both attract and retain drivers – and maybe more women.

“It will deter criminals, reduce insurance claims and premiums and by default costs for consumers.”

O’Brien said Patel showed great interest in the subject and “understood, acknowledged and took on board the issues”.

Patel also asked for further information on the subject as well as highlighting the role that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities could play to Stuart Andrew MP, the housing minister, who was also present.

O’Brien’s meeting with Patel follows the RHA’s launch of its petition to government on the issue of driver facilities, which is part of its #RHAFacilities campaign.

RHA is calling on the government to:

• Introduce a task force to review all existing driver facilities and work with industry, operators, and local authorities on a long-term solution

• Amend the planning guidance to local authorities to urge them to approve appropriate plans for new parking and facilities

• Increase the government funding provided to improve the number of safe and secure driver facilities and parking spaces

The petition can be found here: