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2017 saw a spate of terrorist attacks where rental vehicles were used as ramming weapons to cause death and destruction in various countries in Europe. Low-tech, lone agent attacks have seen terrorists use rental vehicles to run over pedestrians in Nice, Berlin and London, killing or injuring hundreds of innocent people. The danger of rental vehicles being used as weapons of terrorism, and how to deal with this threat, is addressed in a new report commissioned by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).

The BVRLA has been working closely and more frequently with law enforcement organizations and government to identify and agree on tactics to counter the terrorist risk, and calls for the embracing of new security technology and sharing best practice with other countries and industry sectors, according to bvrla.co.uk.

The ‘pay-as-you-go’ nature of daily rental makes hire vehicles vulnerable to this type of attack. Among the recommendations in the new report are calls for an industry-led compulsory national accreditation scheme that would require all vehicle rental businesses to meet minimum standards in terms of their counter-terrorism security practices and procedures.

The BVRLA is also asking the government to support its negotiations with insurers to provide a fair way to pool the risk associated with hire vehicles being used as weapons of terror.


But the association is also keen to avoid any measures that cause undue disruption to businesses or customers, or that involve significant extra costs, according to fleeteurope.com.

Rental companies also need to step-up their training of staff in counter-terrorism awareness, said the BVRLA, and it wants its members to publicise their support for the national counter-terrorism campaign.

The 2017 National Counter Terrorism Policing launched ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) incorporates all of UK’s counter-terrorism external campaigns to warn, inform and reassure the public. It is a collaboration of UK police forces and intelligence agencies. In March 2018, the second phase of ACT was launched reinforcing the message that Communities defeat terrorism, encouraging communities across the country to help the police tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting suspicious behavior and activity. BVRLA published some examples of suspicious activity, including hiring large vehicles or similar for no obvious reasons, buying or storing a large amount of chemicals, fertilizers or gas cylinders for no obvious reasons, taking notes or photos of security arrangements, or inspecting CCTV cameras in an unusual way, etc.