Strategies for stronger frontline security
At the recent launch of the UK’s security export strategy ‘Increasing our Security Exports – A Government Approach,’ two words were used by the prominent speakers to describe the security industry: ‘immature’ and ‘fragmented’. In noting the significant opportunity to participate in the £410 billion (2012) security market, of which the UK currently has only a 4.2 per cent share, a number of challenges were cited including: competition from companies with a lower cost base; a lack of accepted/ understood structure to the industry; SMEs with insufficient resources to export; and the perceived incompatibility of British security standards with international standards.
The strategy document also outlines the strengths of the UK security industry, some of which apply equally well to the UK market and certainly apply to the perimeter security industry. These include: a history of developing an integrated approach to management and mitigation of security risks in conjunction with government; a high quality, highly skilled labour pool for leading research and product development; and the quality, reliability, flexibility and durability of products, systems and services.
So, how are these strengths and weaknesses likely to impact the provision of perimeter security in the coming months?
Hostile Vehicle Mitigation
Exports will certainly play an increasingly important role in the growth of the perimeter security supply market. A new challenge will obviously be ensuring that overseas regulations and market needs are met by suppliers. But whether for UK or overseas markets, the fundamental issues will remain the same.
As several members of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association writing in these columns have previously noted, security solutions need to be holistic, integrated and multi-layered.
It is necessary to consider all threats to a site and its operations and then integrate the security measures into the total scheme for the site – traffic movement, the environment, site use, and the building’s management system being examples. This, of course, leads to many stakeholders being involved and can exacerbate the fragmented nature of the security supply chain mentioned above.
However, elements such as traffic calming and landscaping, to limit the approach speed of vehicles to the site, can be as important as selecting the perimeter protection equipment itself.
Physical countermeasures will always play a big part, acting as a first line of ‘hard’ defence, often protecting further but possibly weaker measures within. When procuring perimeter security equipment, it is vital to ask, ‘what is the process in which the equipment participates?’, since protective security measures will always play a part in the organisation’s overall resilience & risk management, addressing the need to keep the site assets safe, maintain the achievement of mission and ensure business continuity.
A number of pieces of information need to come together to compile the design of the perimeter security solution, including architects drawings, CT Scans, Vehicle Dynamic Test data, VSB or fencing product selection, perimeter security product and performance specifications and foundation detailing. Implementation of the design is then achieved through integration of the security designer’s drawings and HVM performance requirements into the architectural designs.
Life cycle management
It is important to consider the vehicle security barrier or security fencing as a physical system within the overall security management system. Control cabinets and containers, for example, which form part of the system can also be vulnerable to vehicular or manual attack. An increasing concern, as new technology is adopted, is the vulnerability to interference by cyber or remote means, which could impact the security integrity of the HVM measures.
A further consideration is maintenance and life cycle management. Maintenance, service & spares, bespoke documents and manuals and compliance over time are all important factors in ensuring that the equipment selected will continue to perform as intended.
As highlighted in the Export Security Strategy, the UK is fortunate to have a wealth of experience and expertise in developing security risk mitigation. Basic advice can be found in CPNI and NaCTSO publications online. Usually, however, it will be necessary to seek specific advice from CPNI, qualified security consultants, or those who design the HVM systems, such as members of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association.
Another useful source of information on vehicle security barrier system performance, selection and use is the two parts of International Workshop Agreement 14, which has recently been published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Hopefully, as these standards become adopted it will reduce the number of instances where people pick a product from a supplier on the basis that they profess ‘PAS 68’, as if that were a description of the item required. Not only has this impact test standard been quoted instead of the operational and security performance criteria required, it has often been used without even the performance classification required of the barrier.
VSBs are rated in accordance with a performance rating classification code and it is essential that specifiers, buyers and users should use the full code, which is presented in the form of a list of results, e.g. IWA 14‑1:2013 Blocker V/2500[N1G]/48/90:7.6.
The IWA was sponsored by CPNI and incorporates Operational Requirements as part of the standard, providing a good start to producing the technical specification which, in turn determines the quality of the barrier and also the resulting security.
The Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA), representing companies involved in the supply of equipment and services designed to provide highest levels of physical protection for sites and their perimeters, is continuing to address UK and overseas security market needs with a number of initiatives during 2014.
Some time ago CPNI informed PSSA that there was a vast variation in the quality of perimeter security installations. The PSSA has therefore extended its Verification Scheme, covering VSB and fencing products, to include installation. The pilot assessments are taking place this Spring.
The assessment specification, developed in cooperation with stakeholders, addresses issues such as foundations, the use of sub-contractors and adequate testing and handover.
The PSSA will also be looking into concessionary release, where the customer, who is not necessarily the end user, is advised of a security solution but rejects it, sometimes on cost grounds.
The overall aim of the Verification Scheme remains to improve industry standards by introducing certainty into a supply chain which is vulnerable to several problems.
The lack of national or international standards makes specification of perimeter security equipment more difficult. The PSSA is therefore increasingly engaging, along with other industry colleagues, in standards development activities.
Two other areas receiving attention this year are procurement and innovation. For procurement where the PSSA is producing a guide to help specification of perimeter security equipment, and where innovation is required – for example by integrating mixed products, or solutions for rapid deployment.
PSSA, having underpinned its activities with technical work, is now also turning its attention to outreach and will be present at major events this year, including Counter Terror Expo.