In recent months vehicle rental has joined a growing list of sectors directly targeted by terrorists. 2017 saw a spate of terrorist attacks where rental vehicles were used as ramming weapons to cause death and destruction in the UK and around the world. The BVRLA and its members work with authorities, policymakers and insurers to improve training and operating procedures and instil confidence in the sector so that rental companies can keep providing accessible and affordable mobility services.
Vehicle as a weapon (VAW) attacks in London have provided a brutal example of just how easy it is for extremists to misuse cars, vans and trucks, turning them into instruments of terror.
The recent spate of vehicle as weapon attacks has forced Western policymakers and law enforcement organisations to re-assess the threat of high-impact, low-tech, lone agent strikes.
Rental cars, vans and trucks have been involved in some of these incidents, bringing the industry’s security procedures and business models into the spotlight.
The UK vehicle rental industry has huge experience in managing the risk associated with its expensive and potentially dangerous assets. It has a long tradition of working with law enforcement organisations in addressing issues such as vehicle theft, fraud and organised crime. These channels of engagement are being used more frequently and more widely than ever before.
The BVRLA and its members are working closely with law enforcement and government to identify tactics to counter the terrorist risk and to help deter terrorists from using vehicles as weapons.
The industry is determined to improve many of its operational procedures, including the way staff are trained and communicated with, how customers are served and how vehicle assets are managed.
The BVRLA and its members are supporting the national ACT campaign (Action Counters Terrorism), which aims to raise awareness of the different methods of attack planning and encourage the reporting of suspicious behaviour.
The vehicle rental sector can help to deter terrorists by increasing visibility of, and demonstrating increased collaboration with, counter-terrorism organisations. The BVRLA is encouraging all those operating in the sector to support the ACT campaign to help increase awareness and vigilance amongst employees and customers of the vehicle rental sector.
In March 2017, National Counter Terrorism Policing launched ACT (Action Counters Terrorism), a new branding platform which incorporates all of UK’s counter-terrorism external campaigns to warn, inform and reassure the public.
Counter Terrorism Policing is a collaboration of UK police forces working alongside the UK intelligence agencies to protect the public and our national infrastructure.
It is now more important than ever that everyone plays their part in tackling terrorism. That’s why Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) is encouraging communities across the country to help the police tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting suspicious behaviour and activity.
If you suspect it, report it in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or in an emergency dial 999.
The Department for Transport is establishing a voluntary code, the UK Rental Vehicle Security Scheme (RVSS), for all UK firms involved in hiring vehicles to consumers. This scheme works to encourage best practice in customer qualification and embed a culture of vigilance amongst those firms engages in vehicle rental.
Counter-terror experts acknowledge that there is no 'magic formula' for preventing terrorism, but the BVRLA and its members are determined to take a proactive role in reducing the likelihood and impact of vehicle related attacks.
One of the simplest ways in which the BVRLA can look to counter the threat of rental vehicle terrorism is to increase awareness in the public consciousness, and therefore the minds of aspirant terrorists, of the actions it and its membership are undertaking to advance preparedness and alertness to potential threats.
The BVRLA is increasing the amount of counter terrorism training and guidance made available. The association is making this training and guidance available to all vehicle rental and leasing firms – not just those within the BVRLA membership.
BVRLA’s free training resource is available which includes slide deck, presentation notes, security checklist and other material. More detailed information can be found within the BVRLA’s Resource Pack.
The BVRLA has information covering the release of customer data, including what to do in an emergency situation, within the GDPR guide.
The BVRLA's Guide to Insurance Risk Management provides advice on customer qualification and identity checks.