The Department for Transport has launched a Rental Vehicle Security Scheme which aims to increase counter-terrorism awareness and preparedness across the sector and mitigate the risk of rental vehicles being used as weapons in acts of terror.
The voluntary scheme, which is open to all UK vehicle hire firms offering short-term rental to consumers, has been developed in collaboration with the BVRLA and other key industry partners and requires participating firms to meet a set of requirements outlined in a 10-point Code of Practice, including a commitment to:
- Lawfully share data and information with law enforcement
- Train staff to identify and report suspicious behaviour
- Appoint a recognised security contact
- Only accept electronic payment for all or part of the transaction
Although not the mandatory scheme that the BVRLA initially called for, the association believes that the scheme will demonstrate participating firms’ commitment to taking security seriously and will help in the fight against terrorism.
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.
“Long before the publication of government’s Contest counter-terrorism strategy, which outlined a commitment to working with our sector on measures to improve counter-terrorism awareness, we had already been leading the way in developing and delivering free sector-specific CT-awareness training to members, and non-members.
“Although those working in daily rental cannot, and should not, be expected to carry out the role of law enforcement, all UK citizens, including those working in our sector have an important role to play in the fight against terrorism by being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious. We would encourage all those operating in short-term vehicle rental to register for the scheme.”
Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, Counter Terrorism Policing, National Coordinator for Protective Security said: “The introduction of the Rental Vehicle Security Scheme shows a real commitment by industry to increase the levels of security awareness, promote the reporting of suspicious behaviours, enhance security checks and encourage support for law enforcement activity against crime and terrorism across the industry. This can only be a positive thing when helping keep people safe.”