The ToolWatch App has been launched with the aim of combating tool theft in the construction industry and assist police in returning stolen goods to their owners.
The ToolWatch App has been developed to help fight the war on tool theft. A recent survey by Simply Business found that one in three (37%) tradespeople have had their tools stolen, costing an average of £3,000 in lost earnings and tool replacement costs.
The app is a low-cost subscription app service which, once downloaded, registers a tool’s serial number and make. Users take a photo of the tool and upload it to a secure private profile, which can easily be amended or updated. The police have access to their own separate secure interface, which allows them to check immediately whether a tool has been stolen.
The app has received BSI’s Secure Digital Applications Kitemark in recognition that the app will work as intended, with appropriate security controls in place to protect user data.
The app has also been accredited by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, for meeting its Police Preferred Specification to deter and reduce crime to protect people, possessions and buildings. SBD works on behalf of the Police Service and is the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation for security products in the UK.
Alan Brett, co-founder of the ToolWatch App, said: “For construction workers, the ToolWatch App gives them the reassurance and security, that if their tools are stolen and found by the police, they will get them back. But the ToolWatch App will also be effective for all business and industries with equipment that is liable to be stolen – so it has huge potential in the fight against crime.”
The idea for the ToolWatch App came about after Brett, who runs his own building business, had £8,000-worth of tools stolen from one of his vans in 2017.
The insurance company wouldn’t pay out as they couldn’t prove which van the tools were in, so Alan was left to cover the cost of the stolen tools, leaving him out of pocket. With no way of recovering the tools, or identifying their owner, the idea behind the ToolWatch App was born to help combat the theft of tools and van break-ins.
Once an item is recovered, a police offer can check ToolWatch using a simple three-step process to see whether a tool has been stolen. If so, they can view the owner’s details and inform the owner via the app that their property has been recovered. This is done with an automatic notification informing the owner of the contact details of the relevant police force.
Similarly, if a police officer carries out a vehicle stop, or finds someone selling tools at a car boot sale, they can check who the owner of the tool is by name and photograph, by simply entering the serial number and make on ToolWatch.
Brett said: “We’re delighted to have been certified by BSI and receive our certificate from the organisation in November at LondonBuild Expo, and we’re pleased to have worked so closely with BSI and SBD on testing.
“With tool theft up 30% year-on-year and a van being broken into once every 23 minutes, there is no doubt that business owners and crime fighters are crying out for help to tackle this epidemic.
“We’ve been working closely with the police forces so ToolWatch App can realise its full potential and help stop van thefts.
“ToolWatch is dedicated to supporting the community and will be making the app available to schools, colleges, health authorities and emergency services by allowing them to safeguard their equipment free of charge.”
Anne Scorey, UK Managing Director at BSI, said: “The BSI Secure Digital Applications Kitemark was developed to help consumers confidently and easily identify websites or apps they can trust with their financial and/or personal details.
“Achieving certification to the Kitemark involved the rigorous and independent testing of the ToolWatch App, so construction professionals can rest assured in the knowledge that the necessary security controls are in place for the information that is being handled.
“It was an honour to present the certificate at LondonBuild Expo – ToolWatch should be delighted with what they have achieved.”