The BVRLA has been instrumental in leading the vehicle rental sector’s response to the threat of vehicles being used as a weapon in acts of terror. Since 2017, following a spate of attacks in the UK, the association and its members have been working more closely and with more frequency with law enforcement and government to explore ways of mitigating the threat.
In its National Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST, the UK Government outlined its commitment to working with the vehicle rental sector on measures to improve counter-terrorism security awareness through training and best practice guidance. The BVRLA has led the industry response by providing free-to-access training resources and has also updated its Code of Conduct to encourage members to embed a culture of security vigilance throughout their organisations.
A spate of terrorist attacks which saw perpetrators of terror using vehicles to kill and injure people in cities across the UK, Europe and beyond 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 sector is well-versed in managing the risks associated with its expensive and potentially dangerous assets and it has well-established processes in place to work with law enforcement organisations addressing issues such as vehicle theft, fraud and organised crime.
These collaborations are now being strengthened further in the fight against terror to help mitigate the risk of vehicle terrorism.
The BVRLA and its members are working closely with law enforcement and government to help mitigate the risk of vehicles being used as weapons. The vehicle rental sector can help to deter terrorists by increasing visibility of, and demonstrating increased collaboration with, counter-terrorism organisations.
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 the sector have an important role to play in the fight against terrorism by being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious.
The BVRLA encourages all those operating in the vehicle rental sector to register for the Rental Vehicle Security Scheme and to embed a culture of counter-terrorism security vigilance across the organisation by accessing the association's range of training resources and self-delivery training aids.
The BVRLA has been an active supporter of the national ACT Campaign (Action Counters-Terrorism) which encourages vigilance, provides advice and promotes the importance of reporting anything suspicious. The association expanded its e-Learning Platform to include modules on ‘ACT’ to further increase counter-terrorism awareness and preparedness across the sector. It has also developed a suite of bespoke counter-terrorism resources and guidance which is tailored to the vehicle rental sector and is available free-of-charge.
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.
In December 2018, the Department for Transport 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.