Brit expats and tourists hiring Spanish cars to face terrorism checks by police

Published:  1 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, UK, England
All British nationals in Spain, including resident expats, will need to have their personal data examined by Spanish police when hiring cars.

New proposals put forward by the Spanish government contain instructions to car hire companies on the compulsory registration of British expats and visitors looking to hire vehicles. Car rental firms will need to set up databases containing the personal details of would-be renters, all of which will be shared with the Spanish police as part of a new drive to prevent terrorist attacks in the country. The aim of the shared databases is to enable identity and other checks to be made before cars are released for hire.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido introduced the new rules at a recent press conference, explaining to reporters the moves would make the task of identifying terrorists far easier. Access to renters’ personal details, he said, will enable officials to crack down on those showing behaviour patterns compatible with involvement in terrorism and terror attacks.

The news of the crackdown was released after the UK announced similar plans to force drivers in Britain to undergo extra checks when renting vans or cars. The horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona last summer was carried out by a person who’d rented a Renault Kangoo van, with Spain’s new law expected to be on the books and activated later this year. According to Zoido, the plan is part of a full package of new anti-terrorism measures, including increased controls on gas canister sales. Full details, he added, are to be released in the near future.

Meanwhile, firefighters on Mallorca struggled all night to control a massive five-kilometre blaze near Puerto Pollensa. More than 60 homes were evacuated as a precaution as the fire, started by a fault in a local substation, came closer to developed areas. High winds hampered firefighters as the flames came dangerously close to a gas storage facility, but helicopters carrying water bombs prevented a possible explosion. At the same time, three earthquakes hit Andalusia, following on from two similar tremors off the coastline of Torremolinos. The strongest tremor, felt in Cordoba, measured 3.8 magnitude and another 3.5 magnitude quake was felt in Benalmadena half an hour later.
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