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The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (MIRRC), or "Thatcham" as it’s more widely known, was established in 1969 by British insurers. In 1993 it was given the task of developing a set of guidelines aimed at improving the effectiveness and reliability of various forms of security devices, from audible car alarm systems to steering wheel locks.

Thatcham puts in place the test guidelines and effectiveness each device (or vehicle) must be capable of achieving, and also carries out the actual testing This includes attack tests on the vehicle and laboratory tests on the vehicle security system's components. The attack tests include breaking into the vehicle through the boot, bonnet or doors, overcoming steering locks and trying to start the engine without the original vehicle keys. This results in a points score.

Thatcham have defined a number of categories for vehicle security devices and produced criteria and test specifications for each category. The list below shows what these categories cover and the principal features required.


Category 1
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
ELECTRONIC ALARM AND IMMOBILISER

  1. Alarm
    - Perimeter detection
    - Ignition detection
    - Passenger compartment movement detection OR glass break and inclination detection
    - Audible warning with battery back-up power supply
  1. Immobiliser
    - Passively set
    - Isolates a minimum of two operating circuits or systems, or a minimum of one  
    -- operationally relevant vehicle control unit with coded intervention

Category 2
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
ELECTRONIC/ELECTROMECHANICAL IMMOBILISER

  1. Immobiliser
    - Passively set
    - Isolates a minimum of two operating circuits or systems, or a minimum of one - - operationally relevant vehicle control unit with coded intervention

Category 2/1
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
ELECTRONIC ALARM UPGRADE [GENERAL APPLICATION]

  1. Alarm
    - Perimeter detection
    - Ignition detection
    - Passenger compartment movement detection OR glass break and inclination detection
    - Audible warning with battery back-up power supply
    - Resistance to attack for a minimum of one minute
    - Installed on vehicles with existing Category 2 immobilisation to attain Category 1 status

Category 3
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
MECHANICAL IMMOBILISER

  1. Mechanical immobiliser
    - Easy to set and unset
    - Isolates a minimum of one operating system
    - Permanently or temporarily installed

An example of a mechanical immobiliser is the car steering wheel lock, which is known to help deter the opportunist thief. Search for Thatcham Cat 3 steering wheel locks. 

Category 4
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
WHEEL LOCKING DEVICES

  1. Wheel locking devices

- Reliability and durability

- Secure key replacement procedure

- Product traceability

- Resistance to attack

An example of a wheel locking device is a set of locking wheel nuts. Search for Thatcham Cat 4 locking wheel nuts.

Category 5
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
AFTER THEFT TRACKING AND RECOVERY SYSTEMS

  1. After theft tracking and recovery systems

- Vehicle location systems

- Vehicle remote immobilisation systems

- Vehicle signalling systems

Q Class Systems
Passenger Cars, LCV, HGV, Plant, Motorcycles
AFTERMARKET ‘NON CATEGORISED’ SYSTEMS

  1. Aftermarket ‘non categorised’ systems

- Alternative alarm systems

- Vehicle marking systems

- Vehicle data recording systems

- Vehicle paging systems

- Vehicle location systems

- Vehicle ID systems

- Vehicle signalling systems

- Uprated door lock devices

- Image recorders

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