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silver vanThe struggle of some tradespeople to find cheap van insurance helps explain why ad hoc van hiring is a surprisingly popular way to get a commercial vehicle on the road and on the job.

However, the fact that the terrorists behind the recent attacks in London used hire vans to carry out their atrocities, the second and third such instances in just three months, has called some to question the ease with which people are able to hire a van and, as a consequence, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has suggested that new regulations might be brought in to try and reduce the possibility of such tragic events occurring.

Rental companies have already been instructed to take more care in determining exactly who is hiring larger commercial vehicles and have been told to report any suspected criminal activity to police. And now Dick has asked the London Assembly whether van hire "should be regulated in any way?"

"There's a whole big review to be done," she added. "I don't know. It might require some tweaking of legislation."

Although more stringent regulations might seem like yet another unwelcome administrative hurdle to tradespeople already struggling to find cheap van insurance, it should be noted that even if new regulations save just one life, they will have done their job, and there must surely be an intelligent way to regulate van hire that doesn't unfairly punish the operators of small businesses. Dick has recognised that more stringent regulation would be difficult to achieve but underlined her belief that doing so would involve a community effort.

The first attack in London involved the use of a Hyundai Tucson SUV, the second a Renault Masters and the third most and most recent attack, on a group of worshippers in Finsbury Park, a Citroen Relay box van.

Toby Potson, from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, told The Times newspaper that although his members uphold a "long-established set of protocols to enable the efficient reporting of any suspicious activity" and often do this with the added support of specialist security managers, he would seek to explore additional ways to "share information more effectively with law enforcement organisations."

Whatever the case, it is likely that added regulations will only serve to make cheap van insurance that little bit more attractive, when it can be found, of course.