This year has seen a number of terror attacks where hired vans have been deliberately driven into crowds with the intention of causing harm.
Such attacks are obviously difficult to prevent. There are around 150,000 vans operated as short-term rental vehicles in the UK. Isolating one or two suspect customers will never be easy. And of course, the vast majority of hire customers are completely genuine.
However, you may have seen press reports suggesting that the government, police and van hire companies are working together to find ways of identifying suspect rental customers.
What’s being suggested?
If you’ve hired a van before, you’ll know that you are always required to provide proof of ID and your home or business address, along with a valid driving licence.
What you may not know is that some hire companies already have access to watch lists to help them identify potential customers with links to vehicle theft and fraud.
The suggestion seems to be that this system could be expanded to include watch lists of possible terrorist suspects. It’s not clear to us whether this is already happening or not. If and when these changes and others are made, they won’t necessarily be made public.
Whatever happens, we wouldn’t expect changes of this kind to have any effect on genuine van rental customers. We certainly don’t expect much change in the procedure for hiring a van for UK use from any of our van hire partners.
Customers will continue to have to provide driving licence details (including a DVLA check code), personal ID and proof of address. We’d expect stricter enforcement in all three areas, where necessary.