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New Rental Vehicle Security Scheme aims to cut terror risk

Volkswagen Crafter Luton
The government’s new rental security scheme is voluntary but will require changes including compulsory electronic payment method.

Terror attacks in London last year saw rental vans used to attack pedestrians in attacks at Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

As we discussed last year, the government has now launched a Rental Vehicle Security Scheme aimed at increasing awareness of terror risks among rental firms and reducing the risk that vehicle will be used in attacks. 

The vehicles used in all three terror attacks were vans, so this is something that could affect van rental customers. I should point out that at this stage the scheme is voluntary. Rental firms aren’t required to sign up.

However, those which do choose to follow the new code will be required to meet a set of requirements outlined in a 10-point Code of Practice, including:

  1. Lawfully share data and information with law enforcement
  2. Train staff to identify and report suspicious behaviour
  3. Appoint a recognised security contact
  4. Only accept electronic payment for all or part of the transaction
  5. When ‘handing over’ commercial vehicles to customers, additional security checks should be undertaken

These changes are unlikely to have much impact on customers, from what I can see. The only obvious change might be that customers who pay for rentals in cash will no longer be able to do so. In my experience, this is fairly rare and is not usually allowed by rental firms in any case.

Welcoming the scheme, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said:

“The BVRLA has been instrumental in leading the sector’s response to the emerging and increasingly present threat of vehicles being used in acts of terror. During the past two years we have worked closely with government and law enforcement organisations and although there is no single panacea for combatting terrorism, the vehicle rental sector is committed to doing all it can to deter those seeking to inflict harm on our communities.

Here at vanrental.co.uk, our view is that this scheme is a good idea, in principle. However, as it’s voluntary, it’s not yet clear how many rental firms will actually sign up to the scheme and implement the required steps.

In addition to this, I suspect that many of the larger van rental firms may already have put in place procedures designed to reduce the risk of their vans being used for criminal or terror-related activity.

If you’d like to know more about the scheme or how to apply, you can find full details on the gov.uk website here.