Goods vehicles and loads are a clear target for thieves, but in more recent times the other significant threat is the theft of goods vehicles for use in terrorist attacks as mobile weapons.

This presents a risk to the vehicles, drivers, and the general public.

How would a theft affect your business?

The theft of your vehicle and load impacts you as the business owner financially as well as:

  • Your customer – through loss of goods and inconvenience
  • Your reputation as a ‘safe’ delivery service
  • Your drivers could be in danger due to physical violence during the event and their mental health affected long term after the event.

The sobering facts…

Thousands of goods vehicles are stolen every year and insurance estimates put the cost at hundreds of millions of pounds, while the cost of the goods stolen also runs into many millions of pounds (NAVCIS figure January 2021 in excess of £23 million – during rolling year).

Terrorism and threat levels

The UK threat levels for terrorism are:

  • Low – an attack is unlikely
  • Moderate – an attack is possible
  • Substantial – an attack is a strong possibility
  • Severe – an attack is highly likely
  • Critical – an attack is expected soon

We are currently at the UK threat level of Substantial.

Terrorist activity usually takes two forms where your vehicle is driven as a weapon and to be left as a mobile bomb.  Not only is your drivers’ identity at risk as part of the planning of the terrorist’s activity to gain access to the targeted site, but members of the public may also be seriously injured or killed during a terrorist attack where a vehicle is used.

So how do you help drivers manage these risks?

Creating Good Practice

Thefts and terrorist crimes are committed by organised gangs who plan and gather information before the theft of the vehicle. Sometimes the thefts are carried out by opportunist thieves who see a chance to steal goods on the spur of the moment.

You can create good practice to reduce the risks to drivers, your vehicles, and loads by educating drivers and staff within your organisation on:

  • Tightening the security of vehicles and monitoring where they are parked
  • The vehicle keys storage procedure for both the office and when ‘out on the roads’
  • Where the driver’s identity and kit are stored, making sure it’s secure and not ‘lent out’
  • Awareness of strangers on your premises
  • Who to contact and report observed unusual behaviour

This will help prevent theft and reduce the likelihood of your vehicles being hijacked for terrorist purposes.

Share these contact numbers with your drivers and staff

  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) confidential hotline on 0800 789 321 or 020 7931 7142 – for reporting suspicious activity
  • Call 55 if a terrorist event is in progress and you cannot talk
  • Call 999 if a crime is in progress
  • Call 101 for a non-urgent report of a crime
  • CrimeStoppers to report the crime without giving your name on 0800 555 111

Road Skills Online Professional Development Plan

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Our monthly bite-sized Toolbox Talks cover Driving at Work extensively with a module on Security and Counter-Terrorism.

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Sources| Department of Transport 2017 | Highway Code Rules | Mike Dawber, NAVCIS report at Freight People Jan 2021

Published| February 2021