Practical Caravan - - Caravan Chat / Letters -

I note the let­ters pub­lished in your Au­gust is­sue (p10), re­gard­ing car­a­van se­cu­rity. Con­cern re­gard­ing the se­cu­rity of all leisure ve­hi­cles has ex­isted for some time – and the in­tro­duc­tion of the Al-ko Se­cure wheel im­mo­biliser ( find out more by vis­it­ing: https://se­ se­cure-2.html) was the re­sult of co-op­er­a­tion across the whole in­dus­try. An­other reader refers to hav­ing dif­fi­culty in fit­ting the de­vice and prob­lems with wheel align­ment, but the re­al­ity is, this is the most ro­bust se­cu­rity de­vice the in­dus­try has ever had, and has served its pur­pose well. There are also al­ter­na­tive prod­ucts avail­able, which are

pro­moted as eas­ier and sim­pler to fit, but these do not pro­vide any­thing like the same level of ro­bust pro­tec­tion that Al-ko Se­cure does, and many do not pro­vide an in­sur­ance pol­icy premium ‘ben­e­fit’. Hav­ing recog­nised the rise in lev­els of car­a­van/leisure ve­hi­cle theft in re­cent years, the whole in­dus­try is now work­ing with the Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil to seek to es­tab­lish a code of prac­tice for the se­cu­rity of leisure ve­hi­cles. The in­ten­tion is that this will pro­vide a code that the con­sumer will be able to un­der­stand. They will then be able to con­sider, along­side other op­tions avail­able to them, which car­a­vans meet the se­cu­rity stan­dard that they feel is ap­pro­pri­ate for them. Of course, the in­tro­duc­tion of any stan­dard will rely on the con­sumer en­sur­ing that they play their part in en­sur­ing the ‘stan­dard’ is main­tained while the car­a­van is in their keep­ing. Many van own­ers do not fully utilise the se­cu­rity built in by the man­u­fac­turer. I have re­ferred to Al-ko Se­cure, but of­ten, af­ter-theft re­cov­ery sys­tems are found to have been un­sub­scribed af­ter the in­tro­duc­tory pe­riod ex­pires. The use of such de­vices can pro­vide an early no­ti­fi­ca­tion to own­ers that their prop­erty is at risk, and, where their prop­erty is in stor­age, it can alert the stor­age site op­er­a­tor to the fact that all is not well in their site. I also note the ref­er­ence to the mark­ing of leisure ve­hi­cle roofs. This is an ex­cel­lent idea, but I would strongly ad­vise against us­ing a per­sonal post­code. This could be used to alert an op­por­tunist thief that your prop­erty has been left un­oc­cu­pied. It is also a chal­lenge to re­move or over­paint such a mark­ing when the leisure ve­hi­cle is sold. I would sug­gest that own­ers use the last six char­ac­ters of their VIN (of both a car­a­van and a leisure ve­hi­cle). If this in­for­ma­tion is then dis­played across the roof – rather than along it – it can be read by the mul­ti­tude of cam­eras that now mon­i­tor our road and port net­works. From CCTV images, it is quite straight­for­ward to see what the car­a­van/leisure ve­hi­cle is. Po­lice sys­tems use the VIN to iden­tify prop­erty, so a search of po­lice records, us­ing these last six char­ac­ters, could quickly iden­tify if that car­a­van or leisure ve­hi­cle had been re­ported as stolen. The VIN is the in­for­ma­tion that the ve­hi­cle is ‘born’ with, so any change of own­er­ship would not re­quire the de­tails to be re­moved. A tow­ing ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion might also be con­sid­ered as an op­tion, but the same ad­vice as for post­codes would ap­ply – when it is sold on, there needs to be a paint process to re­move the de­tails. Tim Booth

Leisure Ve­hi­cles Of­fi­cer NAVCIS Ve­hi­cle Crime In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice

Your VIN num­ber can quickly iden­tify a van re­ported as stolen

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