Who is responsible for the creation and upkeep of this website?
This site was set up by a consortium of broadcast hire companies, in response to the increasing number of thefts and fraudulent hires occurring in the industry.
How do I contact the site administrator?
Fill in our web form to send us an email.
Why was the Xhire Anti Fraud Network Created
Theft of valuable broadcast equipment has been increasing year on year, and the capacity of the Police to take action seems to be limited, and once kit has been stolen, it is very unlikely to be returned. (Much of it ends up in countries where there is little or no law enforcement.) Clearly, prevention is better than cure, and a system where members can alert each other,and provide information and advice on prevention will help to prevent thieves targeting multiple companies. By working together, companies can keep each other informed, and even though the industry is highly competitive, this is one area where it can and does pay to co-operate. This site provides the means for that to happen.
How will the website be financed?
Is Xhire linked in any way to a specific broadcast hire company?
No, Xhire is completely independent. Although the initial costs and facilities were provided by VMI, whose assistance in launching the site was invaluable, it has no direct link with any single company. The service is now hosted on independent commercial servers, and hence it is in no way subject to the influence of a particular organisation.
Do I have to pay to join the network?
No, the site is funded by voluntary sponsorship. We keep the site free at the point of use so that smaller operators, who are often targeted by fraudsters first,can have equal access to the service. The intelligence we gain from small companies and individuals can prove invaluable, and finance should never be a barrier to joining the service.
What costs are involved in running the site?
Apart from web hosting and the time required for the initial design, the site will need continual monitoring, because all information placed on it will have to be verified and moderated. All reports will be checked with the author, to ensure that the report really did come from a hire company, and, where Police details are provided, these will be checked as well. This cannot be automated, and will require the work of an editor.
The website is fully optimised for Google and other search engines, so that potential purchasers may be alerted to the fact that equipment they are buying is stolen, and anyone searching for details of a particular fraudster will be made aware that he or she is a thief. Search engine optimisation is expensive and time consuming.
You are publishing pictures of people suspected of fraud and theft. Isn’t that risky from a legal and data protection point of view?
Publishing photographs of suspects in criminal cases is normal practice, and happens routinely. (See the Crimestoppers and Crimewatch websites for examples.) Having a photograph appear on this site is no indication of innocence or guilt. It means only that the person concerned has hired equipment and has not returned it on time, and cannot be contacted, and that the Police have been notified of this.
The publication of documents such as drivers licences is more contentious, and it may be worth advising people that, as part of normal fraud prevention measures, copies of all documents provided for identity purposes may be published on this website, if the equipment hired is not returned, in suspicious circumstances.
As a matter of policy, this site will not publish pictures or documents unless the theft has been reported to the Police. Please provide a crime reference number and, if possible, the Police contact and phone number. The name of your organisation does not need to be published.
If you publish crime or fraud prevention advice, won’t that help the criminals by telling them how we operate?
No, probabably the opposite is true. If fraudsters know that companies share information, that photographs of hirers will be kept on file, and published in the event of fraud, that details of stolen kit will be published and become searchable on Google almost immediately, and that stringent checks will be made before equipment is released, they may consider finding softer targets.
The Police publish crime prevention all the time, such as advising the installation of high security locks, etc, and this in no way assists criminals.
I like the idea of this site. How can I help?
You can help us in four ways:
First, sponsor our site. Visit our Sponsors’ page for more details
Second, please report all thefts to us in good time, and provide as much detail as possible. Keep us updated as to progress, Police activity, etc. Also, make use of the forum, with suggestions, tips, and refer to the site, particularly the rogues’ gallery, before hiring equipment, and inform the Police (and us) if you encounter any of the fraudsters on the site.
Third, join our Xhire mailing group, which, as it is not a public forum, can be used to discuss confidential issues which cannot be put directly on this site.
Fourth, tell everybody you know about the site, and link to us , so that we can increase our search engine optimisation
I have some ideas for improvements to the site. Whom should I contact?
We welcome all suggestions for improvement. To contact us, fill in our web form.