In the wake of several recent terrorist attacks, customers of some of the UK’s largest car hire firms could soon be subject to a criminal record check for the first time.

Between March and June of last year rental vehicles were used to carry out numerous terrorist attacks across London, killing 14 people and causing injuries to close to 100 more.

Five people were killed on Westminster Bridge and outside the Houses of Parliament in March 2017 using a rented 4×4. Driver, Khalid Masood, had a history of violent knife crime but no criminal checks were carried out before hiring the vehicle.

Less than three months later, Khuram Butt carried out the London Bridge attack, mowing down numerous pedestrians in a hired van. In an apparent ‘revenge attack’, Darren Osborne hired a van from South Wales before crashing into a crowd of Muslim worshipers in Finsbury Park, London. Like Masood, Osborne also has a criminal record and under new legislation would’ve found it far more difficult to obtain a rental vehicle.

Rental giants set to lead from the front

Europe’s biggest car hire firm, Europcar, have admitted that they could adopt the new criminal record checks before the end of the year. More than one million customers hire cars and vans from the rental giants’ 60,000-strong fleet every year. Under new guidelines details of all potential customers will be cross-referenced against a terrorist economic sanctions list, maintained by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Customer names will also be passed through an anti-fraud database.

A Europcar spokesperson explained:

“Europcar takes the matter of security very seriously and, as such, is in regular conversations with national and international trade associations to ensure it applies the most appropriate measures.”

Let us know what you think; is this the right method to tackle terrorism?