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Guidance to Prevent Vehicular Terrorism

The increased use of vans, lorries, and buses by criminals and terrorists in terror attacks has become a worrying trend in the United Kingdom. As a result, the PAS 29000:2021 framework contains official guidance about mitigating security risks against the malicious use of commercially operated vehicles.

How to Stop Criminals Accessing Vehicles?

The new security measures introduced to prevent criminals and terrorists from gaining access to commercial vehicles, include:

  • Advice for drivers on ways to minimise the risk of commercial vehicles being used as a weapon in a terror attack.
  • Guidelines to increase safety and reduce vehicular terrorism.
  • New framework for goods vehicle operators to learn about the potential risks and develop a rigorous security plan.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) published the new guidance and the Department for Transport (DfT) are the sponsors.

It applies to all commercial vehicles, including small vans, lorries, buses, and coaches. Even so, there have been instances of crane structures being used as weapons in acts of terrorism.

In fact, experts in transport, safety, and crime came together to develop the new standard. Its main targets are operators and drivers who use:

  • Light and heavy goods vehicles.
  • Mobile plant (e.g. cranes, tip trucks).
  • Public service vehicles (PSV).

In essence, goods vehicle operators and drivers will need to meet the new requirements by:

  • Improving their understanding about the potential risks and be able to determine which of the risks apply to their particular business.
  • Assessing their risk exposure and developing a security management plan (e.g. a type of health and safety risk assessment).
  • Putting management and accountability procedures in place for additional security purposes.

Note: You can download a free PDF copy of PAS 29000:2021 commercially operated vehicles (e.g. a framework for mitigating security risks from malicious use).

Operator Rules for the New Standards

The government will attach further requirements for the operators of light and heavy goods vehicles, including:

  • Checking the references of drivers (as well as their previous employment history).
  • Conducting visual checks of vehicles on a regular basis (e.g. for signs of tampering).

The industry will ensure commercial vehicle firms meet the requirements set out by developing accreditation and certification schemes.

Vehicular Terrorism in the United Kingdom

Some of the attacks on the public where vehicles were used as a weapon have resulted in tragic consequences.

For example:

The Westminster and London Bridge attacks that occurred in 2017 were of note because of their magnitude and potential impact.

Thus, being able to prevent terrorists using commercials as weapons should create barriers to those who plan on carrying out these types of attacks.

Furthermore, it may also assist in the government’s fight against serious and organised crimes. They believe it will help to reduce the risk of activities that involve drug and people smuggling.

One of the most severe cases of people smuggling took place in 2019 and it resulted in the deaths of thirty nine (39) Vietnamese nationals. Sadly, the authorities found their bodies in a lorry container in Essex.

Remarks from the Transport Minister

As part of the ongoing efforts to keep the British public safe from being attacked by a vehicle used as a weapon, Robert Courts said:

“This new guidance will go a long way in helping us continue the fight against terrorism in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the use of commercial vehicles to carry out terror attacks has had a tragic and devastating impact in recent years. Every life lost leaves an unimaginable void in the lives of so many British citizens“.

Head of Mobility and Transport Standards

The new standard has been developed with key operators of commercial vehicles. It encourages good practice in the overall management of security risks.

Furthermore, doing so may help to reduce the threat of large vehicles being used to harm the public in malicious acts of violence.

UK Issues Guidance to Prevent Vehicles Being Used as Weapons in Terror Attacks