Commercial vehicle operators have been issued with new guidance that aims to stop vans being used as weapons in terror attacks. The new standard published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) has laid out a smorgasbord of security measures designed to stop terrorists and criminals accessing vehicles.

To meet the new requirements, operators must show they have a security management plan, as well as introducing accountability measures for security. They must also assess their risk exposure, working out which risks apply to their business.

Other requirements will include checks of drivers’ references and previous employment history, as well as regular visual checks of vehicles for signs of tampering. The government says it is “working with the industry” to create accreditation and certification schemes that ensure the standards are met, although details are yet to be confirmed.

Speeding Van

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), which has sponsored the new standards, the requirements have become necessary after attacks using vehicles occurred in London in 2017. The department says these new measures will not only “create barriers” to these kinds of attack, but will also minimise the risk of people- and drug-smuggling operations carried out by organised crime groups.

In particular, the government highlighted situations such as the smuggling operation that resulted in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals in 2019. The victims’ bodies were found in a lorry container in Essex, and the new guidance is designed to reduce the chances of similar tragic events happening again.

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“This is vital new guidance which will go a long way to help us in our fight against terrorism and organised crime,” said transport minister Robert Courts. “I wholeheartedly support this move and the British Standards Institution in their important work.

“Terror attacks and organised crime involving commercial vehicles have had tragic and devastating effects in recent years, with every life lost leaving an unimaginable void in the lives of so many. This government will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the British public are kept safe.”

Meanwhile Nick Fleming, the head of mobility and transport standards at the BSI, said the new rules would ensure operators are aware of the importance of security measures.

“This new standard, developed with operators of commercial vehicles, encourages good practice in the managing of security risks that may help to reduce the threat of vehicles being used in acts that may cause intentional harm to the public or for organised crime,” he said. “The standard highlights the growing importance of physical vehicle security measures to help prevent such criminal acts taking place.”

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