It may be difficult to imagine, but in the current climate it’s possible that your HGV or van could be stolen or hijacked and used as a weapon.
Whilst it may seem dramatic, the use of vehicles to injure pedestrians has become a very real threat. Drivers who operate commercial vehicles need to take an increasingly serious approach to vehicle security.
Here are some simple security measures you can put into place to protect your vehicle, yourself and people around you.
- If you see someone you don’t recognise near your vehicle, report them to the delivery site/depot security. Alternatively, report it to Counter Terrorism Policing.
- Remove all methods of activating your vehicle when you are away from your HGV or van. This could be an ignition key or stop/start fob.
- Ensure all doors and windows and hatches are locked when not in use.
- Restrict access to your vehicle by making sure that only necessary people have the keys, codes etc. Never loan your vehicle to someone you do not trust.
- Before setting off, carry out your HGV or van daily walkaround checks to ensure you can’t see any signs of damage or interference.
Whilst most of these steps may seem common sense to road users, we know how easy it can be to forget, for instance, to lock your vehicle when you step away. So, always double check you have taken all measures possible to secure your vehicle.
It is not just an unsecured vehicle which is vulnerable to attack. Driving is one of the most isolated professions. As a lone worker it is vital you remain safe and secure whilst driving.
- Avoid parking in unsecure locations wherever possible. If you have no option but to pull the vehicle over in a lay-by, be aware of your surroundings. Are you being followed or watched? Have you followed all safety procedures? Is the area well lit? If it doesn’t feel right, leave immediately.
- Always make sure you let others know where you are driving. If it is your employer or coworker, let them know when you are pulling over - even if it just for a quick refreshment break.
- Never post your location on social media. Whilst checking into Facebook or Twitter at the roadside café for a treat may seem like a no-brainer, to an opportunistic thief it is the equivalent of walking round with an arrow above your head.
- Know your rights if you are stopped. If you are approached by a member of the police, ask for their warrant badge or collar number before exiting your vehicle. If these are not provided, ring 999 or drive away and present yourself at the nearest police station. It's also important that you inform your transport fleet manager.
Haulage Company Security
If you own a vehicle yard, a fleet or similar environment where commercial vehicles are parked regularly, it is pivotal that you maintain stringent security procedures. Whilst many advanced security initiatives may seem excessive, there is no such thing. Advanced security means advanced safety.
- Allocate security responsibilities to staff members with appropriate authority to make security related decisions. Spread the responsibilities evenly. Never inundate a single worker with all measures - if you don’t trust anyone else then it’s time to employ new staff.
- Understand the risk of security breaches or ‘insider threats’ and have measures in place to act quickly, discreetly and safely. Make sure you always report breaches to the appropriate authorities, despite personal feelings.
- Identify which vehicles could be used in attacks and devise appropriate security plans that are updated regularly. Collect feedback from drivers and consider their needs and wishes.
- Invest in high quality security equipment, regardless of initial outlay costs. Whilst measures like CCTV, additional staff, electric gates and state of the art fences may seem excessive, you won’t be saying that if one of the vehicles on your property is stolen. Safety is never a poor investment.
- Always, if you or any of your staff see anything suspicious - report to the appropriate authorities, regardless of how minor.
We hope that you never need to worry about your vehicle being hijacked or stolen. However, taking precautions in order to protect your own and others’ safety is never a waste of time. By ensuring we keep everyone safe, we reduce the chance of any kind of attack.