There is more to entry point control than barriers

It cannot be stressed enough that any product or system protecting critical infrastructure and people must always be fully operational and be available to work if and when required. Paul Jeffrey, chairman of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association, looks at the importance of accreditation for entry point control

With the heightened threat levels and the general awareness of security, we are seeing wide reaching changes in attitudes towards perimeter protection from secure fencelines and perimeter intrusion detection to entry point control using Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM). Many sites, especially critical infrastructure, are securing their perimeters and creating a hardened stand off area for improved protection against attack.

Unfortunately, while awareness of threat changes are undoubtably a positive, there are elements of the reactions to changes which are often excessive and at times ill-conceived. This is because the reactions can be knee-jerk and consequently do not follow a proper process of assessment of what protection is needed, why and how it can be properly implemented.

Most of the best practice process is detailed in standards IWA-14.2:2013 (Security Barriers – Application) and IWA-14.1:2013 (Security Barriers – Performance). However, without the right partners (Consultants, Manufacturer, Installer) the process will be difficult to complete satisfactorily.

Threat assessment
Before embarking on any proposal for the implementation of entry point control, it is essential that there is a full understanding and quantification of the threat including the assets under threat, stand off needed to protect those assets, consequential risk (collateral damage) and possibilities for passive mitigation designs.

Detailed threat assessments are usually very complex and require a large amount of experience and knowledge to be completed satisfactorily. As the initial assessment is the cornerstone of the design of any entry point control, it is always recommended that expert consultants are used to carry out this function and they will follow the principles set out in IWA-14.2 2013 (Security Barriers – Application) which superceded the PAS69 standard. It is more common than you would expect for a high security system to be installed on an entry point with no consideration being given to a remote exit point leading to the same critical assets and these projects have invariably missed this vital step in the design process or have used inexperienced or unqualified consultants.

The implementation of any project of this type could greatly impact the running of the facility and it is important to identify and engage with all stakeholders in the early stages of the project design to ensure smooth implementation and buy in. It should not be forgotten that any barrier system will impede vehicle access and this often leads to frustration by users which is easier to manage if all stakeholders are 'on board' from the start.

Operational protocol
The physical operational impact of entry point control is something that is often missed in consideration of protection measures. There have been many instances where a control point has been implemented, gone live on day one and then switched off on day two due to the impact on local transportation links. Obviously, this is not a good situation and can easily be avoided by anticipating and considering the consequences of the implementation of a control point on the environment. For example, if the threat assessment allows, the operational protocol for entry point control can be varied to accommodate peak traffic flows.

Operator training is an essential part of any security system and possibly even more critical when it comes to entry point control. With the wide spread use of sub-contract security companies to operate and maintain site security, the ultimate stakeholder is more remote from the frontline security in both the literal and theoretical sense. This makes the need for a clear and auditable process for training even greater and stakeholders need to be sure that proper training is being carried out continuously. Don't forget that the equipment being deployed at these check points can, if misused, be lethal and you would not issue a loaded gun to untrained staff!

Operational Health and Safety is always the most important consideration and any barrier installation will need to have a safety risk assessment completed before commissioning although a safe operating procedure should have already been incorporated within the protocol and any residual safety risks addressed by safety systems on the physical equipment.

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