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m.logistics Magazine | On Track & On Target | ‘GPS jamming on the increase,’ Tracker warns

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18 June 2012

‘GPS jamming on the increase, Tracker warns

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There has been an increase in incidences of vehicle thieves using GPS jammers to outsmart the police, according to vehicle tracking specialist Tracker.

The company says the information has been researched by Sentinel, a consortium of organisations with an interest in researching GPS performance and reliability.

According to Stuart Chapman, head of Tracker’s police relationship team: "The current over-reliance on GPS as a security and recovery system increases the opportunity for jammers."

Tracker is in a relatively secure position in this context, since its tracking systems do not rely wholly on GPS. As Chapman comments: "Although GPS has a part to play, it’s vital we recognise the impact of its vulnerability, with more and more UK motorists falling victim to jamming devices."

Tracker’s systems use VHF technology, offering motorists an effective safeguard against theft, even if the GPS does fail – one good reason why it is used by all 52 UK police forces.

Sentinel is part-way through a two-year programme to investigate the extent to which global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are subject to interference and/or intentional jamming. It is looking at GPS and the forthcoming Galileo system, as well as at eLoran and other systems.

Its remit includes detecting and discriminating between accidental jamming such as multipath and harmonics, deliberate jamming by criminals, and natural disruptive phenomena such as weather and solar flares.

Sentinel is led by Chronos, a specialist in tracking and navigation, and members include the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ordnance Survey, the University of Bath and the Thatcham vehicle security organisation.

It is funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. 

… as thieves target plant and agricultural equipment

In a separate piece of analysis, Tracker says there is evidence that organised criminal gangs are increasingly targeting plant and agricultural equipment as well as road-going vehicles.

It cites evidence from NFU Mutual suggesting that construction and agricultural machinery worth £1.5 million is stolen every week in the UK. While it is not clear what proportion of tracked plant is recovered, Tracker says that where it is, well over half of the equipment is recovered within 24 hours.


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