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Feature | Vehicle Security | Better Safe Than Sorry

WMS Warranty

By Roger Brown

In today’s world of rising crime levels it is worthwhile companies considering the wide range of vehicle security products available in the marketplace.

Checkmate Devices, which was established in the UK in 1962, designs, manufactures and supplies a wide range of travel safes for use in vehicles that offer anti-snatch protection to cash and valuables together with reducing the risk of personal attack to drivers. Its travel safes are available in many different sizes and are easily fitted into almost any type of vehicle.

Each safe clearly has the message ‘Key at Depot Only’ printed on it thus deterring opportunist attackers, as the driver does not hold the key. The locks and keys fitted to all Checkmate safes can only be supplied through Checkmate Devices and a record of locks and serial numbers is kept so customers can obtain replacement locks and keys on request.


The majority of the models fit directly into a base plate, which is a permanently fixed to the vehicle floor and there are four main lid types. These include plain lid safes, fitted with either a hinged or sliding lid and ideal for carrying important documents, lap top computers, jewellery, photographic equipment, drugs and medicines.

There are also the slotted lid safes which offer a cash slot with a baffled entry for depositing bank notes or sealed envelopes, while Checkmate’s roll top safes offer extreme ease of uses. The operator places loose or bagged items into the roller top then turns the roller handle and the contents drop into the safe compartment below.

Meanwhile, coin chute safes are ideal for bagged cash, where bags are pushed into the chute and drop into the safe compartment below. A Checkmate spokesperson said: “As for who we supply to, that varies immensely, from large companies with fleets of vehicles all fitted with our safes, to one man bands and just about everything in between, for those either collecting cash or payment documents.

“The safes are also used by vets and doctors for keeping either tranquilizer equipment or medication in when they are out on their calls.” The ultra-high security Sentinel is at the top of Armaplate’s range of products for door lock protection.

According to the firm it offers the ultimate in permanent security and yet is affordable, simple to use and value for money. The system works by completely encasing the lock-barrel and surrounding areas and is bolted securely to the door.

There are no moving parts and no keys to be lost or broken, security is 24/7 and requires no activation by the driver. The system has been used by many blue-chip companies and organisations including divisions of the Metropolitan Police.

In the event that a van has already suffered a theft-attack, the Sentinel can be used as an effective and permanent repair, in addition to preventing further theft-attacks. Also, it is made from high-grade stainless-steel which will never rust and spoil the appearance of a vehicle.

Armaplate Sentinels are available for most makes and models of van including Ford, Vauxhall, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Citroen and Peugeot. The company also markets Slamlocks which are designed for fleets that have drivers who frequently need to get in and out of the vehicle during the course of the day.

An example cited by Armaplate is that of a courier firm with drivers who are constantly stopping and starting and moving goods in and out of cargo areas, often forgetting to lock the door of the van. The company has two types of Slamlock: the first is a replacement type lock and the other – the StrongHold – is an additional lock which provides extra levels of security and convenience.


Also in Armaplate’s portfolio of products are Deadlocks, mechanical devices fitted to vehicle doors that operate by throwing a bolt into a receiver fitted to the opposing body section when operated by an external key. According to Armaplate, Deadlocks rely on the driver activating each lock on each door and its advice is that if a firm feels it cannot rely on its drivers to do this, then it should consider self-locking Slamlocks.

Security can be enhanced when Deadlocks are used in conjunction with Sentinels, but Armaplate says that it is important to have them installed by qualified engineers. All Deadlock kits come with two keys, a full guarantee and comprehensive aftersales support.

Meanwhile the CatShield from Armaplate is specifically designed to offer high levels of protection from the theft of catalytic converters on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. CatShield, which is made from strong stainless steel, puts a barrier between the exhaust and thief, takes just a few minutes to install and can be used in conjunction with its ArmaCat product.

Catalytic converter protector ArmaCat works by encasing the CAT/diesel particulate filter in a clamp manufactured to ISO9001 standards and made from high grade stainless-steel for strength and durability. Along with high-security fixings, the ArmaCat comes with an ultra strong stainless-steel cable which secures the device to the chassis of the vehicle.

Another product from Armaplate is the defend-A-step that not only provides a means of safe entry and exit from a vehicle, but also doubles up as a security bar, blocking access to the cargo area via the rear door. The defend-A-step is manufactured in the UK to ISO9001 standards and is constructed from zinc-plated, polyester-coated steel to provide a robust, long lasting finish.

The actual step-section is made from rust-free aluminium and an anti-pick lock is fitted as well. Popular optional extras that businesses can include are ultrasonic parking sensors. All its steps are ‘sensor ready’ and can accommodate most makes of sensors or the step can be purchased with them pre-installed and ready to connect to a van, approved by international testing body TUV.

Fleet operators can request a sample and evaluate the step for 30 days free of charge, with Armaplate fitting them for free too. According to Maple Fleet Services criminals are increasingly attacking the OEM driver’s door cylinder of vans with screwdrivers or lock pick devices, typically gaining access within just a few seconds.

Its Replock design is a direct replacement anti-pick cylinder, which combats this common method of attack, which completely bypasses a vehicle’s central locking system. Supplied with a specific key, it can be fitted quickly to a range of panel vans, including the Ford Transit.

Maple says it is simple to install and can be fitted in just 15 minutes. For companies wanting to secure their tools, Hope Technical Developments markets the Hope Safe-T-Tool Stow, constructed from 2mm steel with a Hope concealed custom made hinge and an anti-pick/anti drill 70mm disc lock. For extra security, including data protection, the tool stow has two trays that can be used for an iPad, tablet or laptop and any loose documents.

This feature is fitted inside the roof of the lid and has a crowbar deterrent lip and pre-drilled mounting points for securing to the vehicle floor. The tool stow is processed in zinc phosphate, for extra anti-corrosion protection, before being powder coated in a black and yellow gloss finish. The Hope Safe-T-Tool Stow comes with two keys and weighs 53kg.

Finally, and also for secure tool storage inside a van, Vanguard’s Tool Store is built from strong and durable zintec steel, finished in a tough powder coating and comes in small, medium and large sizes to accommodate various tool boxes.