On 8 December 2011 the working group dealing with problems of telecommunications infrastructure thefts met at the seat of the Office of Electronic Communications.
The Working Group included representatives of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), the Office for Railway Transport (UTK), Energy Regulatory Office (URE), Guard Rail Protection (SOK), Polish Society for Transmission and Distribution of Electricity (PTPiREE), Telekomunikacja Polska SA, NowoNET, Netia SA and PKP Polish Railway Lines SA.
Thefts of infrastructure (not just a cable one) carry a high social risk, because the costs of its reconstruction, much larger than the value of raw materials, are borne by all of us. In case of theft and devastation there is also the problem of life and health risks by damaging infrastructure elements, such as the removal of manholes to telecommunications sewages, or devastation (cut) of structural parts of columns.
Unfortunately, the crimes of theft of infrastructure in the assessment of law enforcement and judicial bodies are often classified as low social harm, which leads to an increased sense of impunity of offenders. Therefore, the working group wants during the cooperation with the government and parliament to draw their attention to the threat connected with the theft of the infrastructure implying more far-reaching consequences than just the seizure and loss of property. In this matter it is also very important that various ministries join cooperation along with the Police Headquarters. This should lead, inter alia, to changes in legislation so that this type of crime was classified as serious, such as threat to communication security, transport safety, energy security, etc.
Another problem associated with the offenses of infrastructure thefts is social acceptance of this type of behavior. The main thing which the Working Group noted is the need for enhancing public awareness of this practice, as well as highlighting its destructive impact on the functioning of society. The possibility of establishing cooperation with the media, among others through the distribution of information or social awareness campaigns, sholud be examined. Such campaigns have already been implemented by TP SA and KWP in Katowice.
In case of the development and popularization of topic related to the prevention of infrastructure thefts, the National Broadband Forum will launch a section on the theft of infrastructure and a thematic forum.
An important thing in preventing infrastructure thefts is also the development of technical security. In this matter, undertakings individually plan and choose the appropriate technologies available in the market, but the working group will attempt to influence the producers of infrastructure elements (e.g. wiring) so that they mark them at the production stage (e.g. with a unique series placed on the cable in a continuous manner). This will reduce illegal trafficking of stolen infrastructure, and after catching an offender it will be easier to identify the owner and the place from which the infrastructure was stolen.
The next meeting of the Working Group, to which representatives of the Police Headquarters are invited, was scheduled for 10 January 2012.