Vehicle SecurityThatcham's pioneering work in this field, in collaboration with vehicle and security equipment manufacturers, together with the police has brought about a major reduction in UK vehicle crime. The Thatcham security testing regime is considered to be one of the most rigorous in the world and acts as a model for crime prevention efforts internationally.
During the early 1990s, the news was filled with stories of joy-riders stealing cars and the subsequent damage and suffering they were causing. In 1992, the British insurance industry tasked Thatcham with improving vehicle security.
Increasing the level of security fitted as standard to vehicles and improving the quality of installation of security systems has helped to minimise insurance premiums and reduce insurers' costs. The scheme was extended in 1996 to include light commercial vehicles, in 1997 to include heavy commercial vehicles and again in 1999 to motorcycles.
Security TestingAlmost every new model is subjected to a New Vehicle Security Assessment. Initially, the assessment requires the vehicle manufacturer to complete an application form describing the security system. Thatcham then conducts attack tests on the vehicle and laboratory tests on the security system's components. The attack tests include breaking into the vehicle through the boot, bonnet or doors, overcoming steering locks and include trying to start the engine without the original vehicle keys. The result is a points score that can affect a car's insurance by up to two groups.
Thatcham produce a New Vehicle Security Rating (NVSR) for all new vehicles that are assessed. The NVSR provides a 5 star rating system for 'theft of' the vehicle and 'theft from' the vehicle. The NVSR for Heavy Goods Vehicles uses a 10 star rating system. The NVSR also provides the basis for the annual British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards that recognise the efforts of those manufacturers who have produced the most secure new cars.
Thatcham have also tested hundreds of alarms, immobilisers and other security systems for after-sale fitment. These security systems can be fitted to vehicles that may not have had an alarm or immobiliser as standard equipment.
Staying in TouchThatcham engineers travel to vehicle manufacturers throughout the world to assess the security systems fitted on new vehicles before they are launched in the UK. Thatcham have built up strong working relationships globally with vehicle manufacturers, importers, after-market security system manufacturers and suppliers, the police, insurance companies and governmental organisations.
Thatcham engineers continuously analyse theft methods and new theft techniques used to break into or steal vehicles. This enables us to update the Security Criteria to combat new theft techniques. We use this information to keep vehicle manufacturers updated on new attack methods, enabling them to improve on potential weak points in a vehicle's security design.