Published On: Sun, Aug 20th, 2017

Drivers face extra checks for rental vehicles after spate of terror attacks rock Europe


After a spate of attacks across Europe, ministers are concerned about the growing frequency with which they are happening and an inability to prevent the low cost attacks.

Rental companies may be given access to Government data so they can carry out more stringent checks on people looking to rent vehicles under the new proposals.

Toby Poston, director of external relations at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), told the Sunday Telegraph: “The industry is looking at ways to share data with the authorities in as real time as possible so it can be cross-referenced with counter-terrorism watch lists.”

A Government spokeswoman said the Department of Transport is working with police and rental companies to help tighten regulations.

She said: “The threat from terrorism is changing and so must our response.

“That is why we are reviewing our counter-terrorism strategy and powers and why we have ploughed extra resources into counter-terrorism.

“The Department for Transport is also working with the police and the vehicle rental industry to explore what more can be done to prevent the malicious use of hire vehicles.

“This includes looking at what more rental companies could do before an individual can hire a vehicle.”

The UK has been subjected to terror attacks in Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Manchester this year alone. In all those attacks, Manchester was the only plot where a vehicle was not used to run over innocent civilians.

Khuram Butt, the mastermind behind the London Bridge attack, had tried to rent out a 7.5 tonne lorry hours before his twisted jihad, but when payment failed he resorted to renting a white van which was used to plough through pedestrians in June.

In the aftermath of the London Bridge and Westminster attack, which both saw vehicles mount the pavement along bridges, security reviews on 33 bridges around the capital have taken place with new barriers and gates being erected to protect pedestrians. 

On Thursday, Barcelona was rocked by a terror attack involving a rental van which rammed down passengers along the busy tourist area of Las Ramblas.

At least 14 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured as the van travelled 500 metres down from Placa de Catalunya metro station before colliding with a newspaper kiosk. 


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