Debate Magazine

"Make Drivers Pay for Fuel in Advance, Says Police Chief"

Posted on the 05 November 2018 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

A most interesting article at the BBC:
Petrol firms had made it too easy to drive off without paying because they wanted to entice motorists into their shops, said Simon Cole of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).
About 25,000 people every year "bilk" the system by avoiding payment.

That's a staggeringly small number, there are over thirty million vehicles on the road, all of who fill up (say) thirty-three times a year = about 1 billion purchases a year. If 25,000 go unpaid, that's 0.0025% of all purchases = effectively zero. I can see why that's hardly a police priority.
Most petrol stations have number recognition AFAIAA. They can and should pass on to the police the details of drivers who drove off without paying, I wouldn't expect the police to step in for a single splash and dash (petrol stations can start a civil action), but people who do that are likely to be the sort of people who commit other motoring offences, so when they finally get nicked, the police can add it to the list of offences they are charged with.
Mr Cole, who is chief constable for Leicestershire, said 12% of crimes faced by his force were retail-related.
"The petroleum industry could design out bilking in 30 seconds by making people pay up front, which is what they do in other countries," he said, "They don't, because the walk in their shops is part of their business offer."

Some pumps make you insert your debit card before you fill up, saving you the hassle of going into the shop.
If petrol station owners want the best of both worlds, they could set things up so that you have to go into the shop to insert your debit card and select your pump before you can fill up.

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