Caravan & Motorhome Identification.
Introducing Caravan Identification (CID).
My idea is to establish a new registration service owned and operated by us with membership available to everyone who owns and uses a caravan, motor home or trailer for recreational purposes. When someone joins they will provide us with essential information about themselves, their van and the vehicles that will be authorised to tow it. They will be issued with a set of 10 tamper proof stickers (3 large, high visibility, 7 smaller and more discreet window stickers) and a membership ID card.
The first large sticker should be placed high on the right, rear of the caravan where it’s not easy to access but is clearly visible to anyone nearby or following in another vehicle.
The individual numbers of the sticker are raised making them difficult to hide by painting or covering and highly reflective for visibility at night.
If we all adopt this location, we know exactly where to look for the ID or for signs that it’s been covered or tampered with. Any other sticker in this location is very unusual.
The second large sticker should be applied to the roof of your van where it is out of normal sight. It will however be very visible from the air, by CCTV operators, safety cameras or to police patrols parked on flyovers or other vantage points.
The roof is one area of a van that’s often overlooked or ignored by thieves due to difficulty accessing it. What’s more, the supersize sticker will be very difficult to remove or cover.
The third large sticker should be displayed on the nearside of the tow car’s windscreen effectively pairing the tow vehicle to the trailer. It doesn’t have to be stuck to the glass, just placed where it is visible. This will make it easy to transfer if you have more than one tow vehicle registered.
I have to be honest. In addition to showing off your membership, it’s also good advertising for the CID scheme.
The remaining, smaller stickers should be placed on the inside of each van window. The window stickers are designed to be unobtrusive yet easy to read from outside. Anyone hoping to remove them will first have to get inside the van then deal with a separate sticker on every window. Not something that can be done quickly.
You now have 10 potentially immovable and easy to read points of identification on your van that don’t involve crawling around looking for chassis numbers that you can’t check even if you do find them. No, stickers wont stop the van from physically being towed, that’s what your wheel and hitch locks are for, but they’ll definitely put potential thieves off choosing your van and vastly increase the chance of it being spotted and recovered should it be taken.
Currently the only identifying mark on a van is a number plate that’s swapped in seconds. Unless there is something ‘distinctive’ about your van it simply becomes just another one on the road and ignored. Even if your van does stand out, people need to know its been stolen and what to look for. We ‘normal people’ don’t have the ability to check a chassis or CRIS registration number but we will be able to spot and check a CID number quickly and for free.
Why should anyone take my proposal seriously?
I am a former police officer but more importantly I have spent the last 30 years in senor roles managing physical, cyber and information security risk. As a qualified lead auditor, my responsibilities have included formal risk assessment, impact analysis, tactical avoidance and detection of security incidents. I am also a caravan owner with an investment to protect.
As well as my own experience in security, there are three quarters of a million other van owners out there with many years of experience who need to be listened to. I would hope to encourage some of them to input into the system.
So how does it work?
As I mentioned, there are more than three quarters of a million of us in the UK. Any one of us seeing a caravan or motor-home displaying a CID sticker will be able to access this site or our app on their smartphone, type in the CID number and access information about it. There will be NO charge for doing so.
- The check will reveal the make, model and year of the van.
- The chassis number of the van.
- What vehicles are authorised to tow it.
- Whether it’s been reported stolen or not.
If the van has been reported stolen you should dial 999 and report it to the police immediately. What ever you do, do not challenge them yourself. If you’re both stationary, park a safe distance away and follow any instructions given to you by the police. If you have a dashcam fitted and it is safe to do so, position it or your vehicle to record any activity.
If the van moves off or you come across it whilst travelling, keep a safe distance behind, observing speed limits etc. Let the police know you are following and obey their instructions. Do NOT get involved in any kind of pursuit or try to stop them. If you think they have noticed you following, make the police aware and fall back.
No matter how nice a caravan or motor home it is, you’re safety takes priority. DO NOT take risks.