LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Britain is exploring ways to stop “the malicious use of hire vehicles”, including looking at what more rental companies can do, the transport ministry said on Sunday, after two attacks in Spain killed 14 people.
The attacks - one in Barcelona where an attacker drove a van into crowds, killing 13 people, and another in Cambrils that saw five men drive a vehicle along a walkway, killing one woman - echoed the tactics used by some Islamist militants in London.
The police say that by using hire vehicles, any such attacks are very hard to prevent.
“The threat from terrorism is changing and so must our response. That is why we are reviewing our counter-terrorism strategy and powers and why we have ploughed extra resources into counter-terrorism,” a government spokesperson said.
“The Department for Transport is also working with the police and the vehicle rental industry to explore what more can be done to prevent the malicious use of hire vehicles. This includes looking at what more rental companies could do before an individual can hire a vehicle.”
Britain has increased the number of barriers at bridges and in certain locations in city centres to try to prevent such attacks. Since March, Britain has seen four attacks, three involving a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.
British hire firms make various checks before granting a vehicle rental, including verifying that customers have a full driving licence, additional identification and a valid credit card. (Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Mark Heinrich)