Proactive Counter Terror

Assa Abloy

Steve Wintle, Head of Professional End User Division, Abloy UK discusses the role of access control in securing organisations and CNI against terror attacks, and explains the best product solutions to combat any threats posed.

The increasing risk of terror threats mean that organisations must develop quick-response procedures to respond effectively to a fast moving incident on their site. This can be anything from a bomb, firearms or weapons attack, and can be located either directly at the premises or in the surrounding areas.

Dynamic Lockdown

Dynamic Lockdown means quickly restricting access and egress to a site or building – or areas in the building – through physical measures in response to a threat, either external or internal. To ensure an organisation has the ability to achieve ‘dynamic lockdown’ it should practice procedures just as they do for a fire alarm, or in conjunction with a fire alarm practice.
The aim is to cordon off areas to prevent the attackers from accessing them, and also to stop people moving into zones where they may be at risk; staff should be drilled so they know safe locations and escape routes. So what security measures need to be in place to combat terror threats and aid dynamic lockdown?

Access Control

Access control is a key consideration for security specifiers, and when it comes to selecting security solutions for access points in public buildings, it is imperative that the safety of the people who use the building is the main concern. However we are also a polite nation and often hold doors open to allow people through without them having to present an access control token
Emergency access points must feature the correct security solutions in order to allow for easy egress without compromising security. Magnets have been used successfully for many years to provide a convenient level of security and are relatively easy to fit, however in some cases using magnets will not comply to new standard BS EN 13637: 2015 electrically controlled exit systems for use on escape routes.

There are also security measures that must be in place to ensure the required level of security is achieved on a day-to-day basis. So when it comes to specifying security solutions for these types of doors, what’s the best solution?

Electric locks - such as the Abloy EL560 solenoid lock and EL520 motorised lock - work by controlling either the latch or the handle, or by motorising the bolt back once a valid token is presented or a request to exit device is used.

This ensures that only authorised personnel are able to gain access to the building, and the system will prevent any unauthorised persons from entering. This is ideal for exit and fire rated doors within the interior of premises such as business offices, public buildings, hospitals and schools.

Electric locks also offer energy and emission reductions in comparison to door magnets and remain secure in a power failure. There are also safety benefits to be gained by choosing an electric lock solution, including removing the fire risks associated with the installation of door magnets on fire escape points.

Door magnets require an alarm or ‘request to exit’ mechanism to allow egress in the case of a fire, whereas electric locks offer a compliant solution.


Compliant electric locking solutions that meet building regulation standards – such as EN179 Emergency Escape (for when the building occupants are aware of the building environment), EN1125 Panic Escape (for environments used by the general public) and the new standard (from July 2016) EN13637 Electronically Controlled Escape Systems (for use on escape routes) - are essential to ensure safety and security.

These standards state that even if a door is electronically controlled for access there must be a compliant mechanical means of escape in an emergency.

In the case of fire doors, this is essential to provide fire protection, compartmentalise a building, and protect the escape routes. This is also a critical function in a terror situation too – offering the ability to shut off certain areas to terrorists and allow egress or access to ensure the safety of the public.

Electric locks are a more compliant access control solution in comparison to door magnets, as magnetic systems are often not guaranteed to be fail-safe. This means that if there was an emergency, they may not allow the occupants of a building to make a quick and safe exit, which could possibly result in fatalities.

A CE mark should be present on locking devices, confirming they comply with EU legislation. It is now a legal requirement for manufacturers of construction products in the UK to apply CE marking to items that are covered by harmonised European Norms (hEN).

A CE mark shows that the minimum performance requirements of the product have been met, however it is not always a sign of high quality. Alongside the CE mark, a Declaration of Performance (DoP) document has to be made available to the customer upon request.

It’s vital that each party - whether an architect, specifier, facilities manager or installer - takes responsibility for ensuring the correct compliant systems are in place to guarantee safe egress for the occupants of the building in the event of an emergency such as terror attack.

Electro-mechanical Master Key systems

Another way to ensure the safety and security of people and assets especially on remote sites where wired access systems would be impractical or extremely costly, is to install an electro-mechanical Master Key system that offers audit trails. This allows the security team to monitor who accessed which areas and when, which could help track attackers’ movements in a terror situation.

Abloy’s PROTEC2 CLIQ system is a versatile, wire free solution, as it integrates a mechanical Master Key system with electronics that require no external power source, to provide precise and cost effective control of access permissions.

Keys and cylinders are embedded with data encryption technology, including a unique identification code that cannot be altered or duplicated. Access is managed and controlled using web-based software, meaning access rights can be granted or withdrawn swiftly and easily utilising mobile app technology.

The latest innovation of the system – CLIQ Connect – utilises a revolutionary highly encrypted online management system that takes advantage of the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology, enabling users to update keys wirelessly from their smartphone.

The connectivity provides a real time audit trail on non-wired products such as padlocks and cam locks, and access rights can be granted to the user remotely ‘on-site’, which is ideal for applications with a large number of remote sites. This is great news for companies that use a lot of contractors as they can now control and restrict access to those, only as and when required. It also means contractors time on site can also be monitored and compared against job sheets and invoices.

The introduction of a system such as Abloy’s PROTEC2 CLIQ Connect means time is saved, efficiency is increased and the level of security is substantially improved – security and asset management whilst also maintaining safety effectively.

Key security

PROTEC2 CLIQ can also be combined with Traka21, a stand-alone key management system. Traka21 combines innovative RFID technology and robust design to provide small and medium sized businesses with intelligent management of up to 21 keys or keysets in an affordable plug and play unit.

In addition, Traka21 authorises, secures and monitors all keys, automatically controlling and recording when a key is used and by whom – information which is made available either through the cabinet’s display or by exporting on a USB pen drive.

Easy to operate, the user can simply enter a unique PIN code to gain access to the cabinet, with green LEDs indicating those keys to which this user has access. The user cannot remove keys highlighted by the red LEDs, which continue to remain locked in place.

To return the key, the user enters their PIN to access the cabinet again and an amber light indicates the return position. Simple reports can be reviewed on the screen, and exported data such as audit trails can be viewed and analysed on a computer using Excel® or similar.

Without the ability to validate keys, a terrorist may be prevented from gaining access to certain areas of a building, aiding with dynamic lockdown.


For sites that are susceptible to the elements, Abloy also offers a range of IP68 rated Super Weather Proof padlocks. They have the ability to withstand the toughest weather conditions, because the components are extremely well protected to ensure operation in all conditions. Security is guaranteed even with regular exposure to extreme heat or cold, storm-driven salt water or fine desert dust.

Abloy’s range of Super Weather Proof padlocks includes both mechanical and electro-mechanical models (CLIQ) in a range of sizes. All padlocks in the range offer the same high level of durability, and different sizes of mechanical and electro-mechanical locks can be combined in the same locking system providing a cost effective solution.

The padlocks can be installed in any location – regardless of the environment or exposure to the elements – and they will continue to perform reliably whilst offering a superior level of physical security.

So there are many different solutions that can be combined to produce an enhanced security provision to protect against and also react to terror threats. By tailoring a bespoke solution to suit the requirements of the premises and operational needs of the business, the potential risks can be reduced, whilst the safety and security of the occupants and assets can be maximised.

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