Combating Hostile Vehicles

Written by Bobby Hamilton

As we have seen following the hostile events which have occurred this year, vehicle borne attacks have become an increasing threat to public safety. With terrorist incidents evolving in terms of the weapons used and the nature of them, so do the preventative protection measures need to evolve  in order to combat these threats.

Recent events have shown that terrorists and those seeking to inflict harm are targeting crowded spaces – as we saw with the Nice attack in France in 2016, or areas where large volumes of people are gathered – such as Westminster Bridge and the Borough Market incidents earlier this year.

High footfall areas, including airports, train and bus stations, retail outlets, stadiums and event venues are particularly high-risk and vulnerable to such attacks, as they present an opportunity to those carrying out the attack to cause a maximum number of casualties.

With terror groups known to be actively encouraging the use of vehicles to cause damage by both groups and ‘lone wolf’ attacks, the threat from vehicle mitigation is becoming an increasing concern for many who are frequenting such areas or events.

Nice was the first event which saw a vehicle used to cause a larger-scale attack in Europe, in the months since we have seen vehicles used as weapons in Berlin, Stockholm,London and most recently Barcelona. These events have shown that some security methods have become outdated, and have led many to question how their safety is being maintained.

Lord Toby Harris published an independent review, in October 2016, which discussed how prepared London is in terms of responding to a terrorist attack. The review included recommendations for local authorities and Greater London to install bollards to protect vulnerable areas permanently, as well as retractable bollards in some areas. While these recommendations were not installed prior to the Westminster incident in March 2017, which saw London fall victim to a vehicle attack, the case has become much stronger for authorities to install such protective measures.

With vehicles now becoming increasingly commonplace in terror attacks, it’s essential to ensure that security measures surrounding this threat are implemented – and done so promptly, in order to prevent history from repeating itself. 

Following on from the attacks in London earlier this year, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick stated that vehicle barriers would be installed across the city to aid in preventing the matter from occurring once more. In fact, just under a week following the Borough Market attack, concrete bollards were installed on Lambeth Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge.

In the United Kingdom, vehicle security barriers are required to pass the security industry’s benchmark for hostile vehicle mitigation. The PAS 68 marking, requires that barriers and their foundations have been tested against tolerance and certain vehicle types in order for it to be approved as a secure method.

While some protective measures are obvious, many are less conspicuous in their design and can include planters and other ‘seating areas’ which are actually bollards designed to protect against vehicle attacks.

When installing barriers to prevent hostile vehicles, thought is not only required to be given to the suitability of how this will protect the public, but also the installation and costs surrounding it.

We developed TERRABLOCK XR as a security solution designed to protect both urban and remote environment where critical operations and infrastructure need to be protected, as well as the public.  With a HVM rating of PAS 68, the XR is able to withstand a vehicle travelling at speeds of 30mph. Consisting of anti-climb mesh, which is locked together with a series of coils and panels to create the structure, it’s a leading security product which has proved an effective option for those wishing to secure their spaces.

Easily, and rapidly deployable, TERRABLOCK XR is a solution which comes with ballast bags which can be filled during use, or emptied after installation. Units can also be branded in order to remain relatively unidentifiable, and in-line with an organisations existing branding.

With both attacks and the threats posed to public, crowded spaces evolving in their nature, it’s time that those involved in protecting public areas and high-risk venues and stadiums, look to reassess their current security measures and how they would be placed to withstand a vehicle attack. 

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