“Those working in our sector have an important role to play in the fight against terrorism by being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious.”
The UK government has developed a scheme that it hopes will help remove a new weapon from terrorists’ armoury: hired vehicles. The new code of practice has been created for the rental car industry to make it more difficult for its vehicles to be used in attacks. Focused on fostering a more proactive security culture within the industry, the Department for Transport (DfT)’s UK Rental Vehicle Security Scheme (RVSS) will achieve this through the use of a database-powered model already in use in the rail and maritime industries..
Currently a voluntary scheme, RVSS has been positioned not just as a way to bring the use of hire vehicles as weapons to an end, the DfT said it would also help to improve companies’ reputations, giving them a competitive advantage over companies that haven’t signed up. Working under the “Good Security = Good Business” motto, the UK government has devised a 10-point strategy that any business wishing to take part must adhere to:
- Appoint a Recognised Security Contact (RSC) and, where practical, a deputy
- Electronic payment is the only accepted method of payment
- Mandatory driving licence checks to be carried out
- Train staff to identify and report suspicious behaviours
- Support law enforcement counter terrorism and communications campaigns
- Share data and information with law enforcement agencies, where it can be done so lawfully and consistent with data protection requirements
- The company should ensure that appropriate security equipment is fitted to vehicles
- Additional checks need to be undertaken for commercial vehicles
- Should hire vehicles be sold, their liveries must be removed prior to sale
- Sufficient General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) training must be carried out.
The use of hired vehicles by terrorists to carry out atrocities that inflict injury and death has become an increasingly popular method of attack across Europe, with incidents occurring in Barcelona and Paris in the last two years. London has been the victim of three major terrorist attacks, with incidents that took place in Finsbury Park, London Bridge and Westminster, where Khalid Masood drove a van into a crowd of people in March 2017, killing five people and injuring many more.
The chief executive officer of the BVRLA, the trade body for the vehicle rental industry, Gerry Keaney, welcomed RVSS and said that while there isn’t one solution to the problem, the industry remained committed to deterring terrorists.
“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,” said Keaney. “We would encourage all those operating in short-term vehicle rental to register for the scheme.”
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