UK van hire rules could be tightened after terror attacks

After hired vans were used twice by terrorists in London, the capital’s most senior police officer has hinted at new regulation

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Stricter rules on van hire may be needed in light of recent terrorist attacks, London’s police chief has said.

Rental companies have been told to be more aware of who is getting keys to large vehicles after hired vans were used twice by terrorists in the capital.

According to The Times, Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick told the London Assembly: “Should [van hire] be regulated in any way? There’s a whole big review to be done. I don’t know. It might require some tweaking of legislation.”

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On 4 June three men in a 3.5 tonne Renault Master van hired from Romford, East London ran pedestrians down on London Bridge, killing three, before attacking more people in Borough Market. They had tried to obtain a 7.5 tonne lorry but failed because payment was declined.

Two weeks later a man drove a rented Citroen Relay box van into a group of Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park, killing one and injuring 11, after driving it to London from Cardiff.

A Hyundai Tucson SUV, hired from Birmingham, was also used to kill four people and injure 50 more in the Westminster attack in March.

Soon after, car hire companies were told to report customers suspected of using vehicles for criminal activity to the police.

4x4 vans and commercial vehicles explained

Ms Dick acknowledged that regulating van hire would be “very hard” but added “the key to this for me is absolutely in our communities”.

Toby Potson, of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, told The Times: "We have a long-established set of protocols to enable the efficient reporting of any suspicious activity and many operators have specialist security managers that regularly support the police with inquiries.

"We are exploring ways in which we can share information more effectively with law enforcement organisations."

Do you think there should be stricter rules on hiring a van? Let us know in the comments.

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