Vehicle rental sector does its bit to fight terrorism

Elaine Byrne, Rental Training Manager at Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental explains why the sector should adopt an ‘All for one, and one for all’ approach to mitigating the risk of vehicle terrorism.

I’ve been in this role for almost 8 years having started on my rental Journey as a part-time Rental Advisor in 2007. This was quite a pivotal time for Scotland, not just because I joined my rental family and started my career, but because we had a terrorist attack on a prominent location, that is essentially on my doorstep– Glasgow Airport.

While the attack on the Airport didn’t use a rental vehicle, a vehicle was still used as a weapon and the intent was to bring serious harm to many innocent people who were simply going about their business.

Back to the present day, we find ourselves with a national terror Threat Level which is currently at Severe – meaning an attack is highly likely. Within Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, we are taking guidance on what preventative, pre-emptive measures we can put in place to lower the risk of our vehicles being used as weapons. These measures include further training on customer qualification, handling situations of non-qualification effectively, displaying ACT material, use of RISC Online and now implementing and improving awareness of the Department for Transport’s Rental Vehicle Security Scheme (RVSS).

Our staff needed to be made aware of the RVSS and how they could play their part in implementing the charter as part of their daily working practices. My team and I deliver an annual customer care course to all of our branch staff to energise, motivate and share best practice. Previously, we have only delivered this type of course to our in-branch teams (managers, customer advisors, driver/valeters) – this year we needed to share our messages with the whole Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental Team. This included our Rental Business Centre – one of our main points of contact for all customers, Rental Account Managers and Support Staff.

When mentioning to our Rental Team that we would be discussing Counter Terrorism during the course, I saw eyes widening, eyes avoiding eye contact and some of the team even said ‘Wow Elaine, that’s a bit much for a Tuesday morning’. The first bullet point on my presentation read ‘Don’t Panic’. This is a key message – if we panic or are over anxious about every rental transaction we complete, that’s when the qualification process can be undermined and will undoubtedly have an impact on the levels of customer service provided.

However, the full team agreed that any tweaks or changes we had to implement would be to the benefit of not only us as staff, but our customers and the wider world also. We detailed the points on the RVSS and identified how different job roles would have different active roles in conforming to the requirements of the charter. The team were delighted to learn it wasn’t a whole new set of processes to implement and that a number of the points followed on from our current security procedures.

The recent webinar hosted by the BVRLA’s Nora Leggett and representatives from DfT, County Car & Van Rental & Hertz, detailed the importance of having a security plan in place, which will enhance and supplement the RVSS and make it easier for organisations to implement any changes required. These plans will only prove to be useful if we share them with our teams.

Our people are our strength, I am lucky to have the training team and resources to allow me to be in front of all of our staff within Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, which can make delivering a message more impactful. However, remember that there are online resources, e-learning guides and contacts available which means you can access the information in a way that works best for you.

If we adopt an ‘All for One and One for All’ approach and implement the RVSS and other security measures within our businesses, we can be assured that we are doing as much as we possibly can to prevent our fleet being at risk in the future.

Find out more about what the BVRLA and its members have been doing about vehicle terrorism.

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Elaine Byrne

Rental Training Manager, Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental

Elaine has been a BVRLA guest blogger since May 2019.