Fleet News

Anti-theft rap for car makers

HIGHER priority must be given to security when it comes to choosing new vehicles if the Government is to meet its target of reducing car crime by 30% over five years, the Home Office has urged fleets. And before presenting this year's British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association vehicle security awards in London, junior minister Charles Clarke told manufacturers more must be done to improve standard levels of anti-theft equipment in cars, vans and HGVs.

His appeal was made as Home Secretary Jack Straw announced that police forces around Britain would be set individual targets to reduce car crime in their area. Vauxhall, Saab, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were congratulated for winning 2000 BVRLA awards (Fleet News February 11), but Clarke said: 'We have seen a significant reduction in vehicle crime in recent years, but there's no room for complacency. 'It is critical that manufacturers build in to cars the maximum security.'

Association members control more than two million vehicles in Britain - about half of the total company car fleet. Its security awards were launched in 1987 in response to a rising tide of car crime that was costing the industry millions every year.

Recent figures show that theft of vehicles from BVRLA members has fallen dramatically over the past four years, but still represents an annual loss to the industry of almost £9 million. In 1995 the car crime cost was close to £30 million. Clarke said: 'Consumers still need to take more account of security when buying new vehicles and the BVRLA has a key role in levering up awareness of security.'

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