Feature

Security

Enhancing urban safety with HVM

The PSSA explain the importance of HVM in public spaces.

In the UK, the safety of our shopfronts and public spaces, particularly in heavily populated pedestrian areas, is becoming an increasingly pressing concern. Following on from the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association’s (PSSA) recent interesting article on ‘designing out crime,’ it is clear that Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) is a crucial step in safeguarding our streets and shopfronts.

HVM strategies aim to prevent or minimise the damage caused by vehicles crashing into shop fronts, whether these incidents are accidental or deliberate acts of aggression. The role of PSSA members in this endeavour is both vital and multifaceted, offering expertise and innovative solutions to businesses looking to protect their premises.

Physical barriers such as bollards, planters, and reinforced street furniture play a key role in HVM by stopping or slowing down vehicles before they can cause harm. These measures, when thoughtfully implemented, do not detract from the aesthetic of our urban landscapes but rather can enhance them. They are the first line of defence in creating safer spaces for both shoppers and shop owners alike.

Also, the design of our urban environments can contribute to safety, with planning and architecture that guide vehicles away from vulnerable areas, subtly integrating security into everyday life.

Traffic calming measures further ensure that vehicles move at speeds that allow for greater control and reaction time, significantly reducing the likelihood of accidental crashes. Access control systems, both electronic and manual, restrict vehicle access to high-risk areas, allowing only authorised vehicles at specific times.

These measures, comprehensive in their approach, not only protect individuals but also the structural integrity of our shop fronts. PSSA members are at the forefront of implementing these HVM strategies.

Their expertise is not just in identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities but also in providing innovative solutions tailored to specific locales and needs. From consultation and planning to the installation and maintenance of HVM products, these members ensure that safety measures are not just implemented but are also effective and maintained over time.

They also play a crucial role in educating businesses and local authorities on the importance of HVM and the best practices for maintaining and operating these security measures. The need for such measures has been highlighted by various incidents across the UK and globally, where vehicles have been used as weapons in attacks or have crashed into public spaces due to loss of control. Notable examples include the 2017 London Bridge attack, where a van was deliberately driven into pedestrians, and the 2014 Glasgow bin lorry crash, which tragically illustrated the catastrophic potential of vehicles losing control in crowded areas.

These incidents, among others, highlight the critical need for effective HVM measures to protect our public spaces and the people who use them. Whether it is a bustling supermarket, a small-scale corner shop, or a sprawling department store, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) plays a crucial role in safeguarding shopfronts and everyone inside.

By integrating HVM strategies, businesses of all sizes can protect their premises from the potential threat of vehicles being used as weapons or accidental crashes. This not only ensures the structural integrity of the building but also makes a safer environment for customers and staff alike.

The versatility of HVM solutions means they can be tailored to fit the specific needs and layouts of different retail spaces, ensuring that safety measures enhance, rather than detract from, the shopping experience. Paul Jeffrey, chairman of the PSSA, stresses the need for forward-thinking actions: “As the threats to our public spaces and shop fronts change, we must keep ahead with creative and cohesive security measures.

Our members are not just creating but also putting into place HVM solutions that fit right into our cities and towns, making sure safety does not take away from how our streets look and feel. The PSSA is an international organisation and has chapters around the world, showing our dedication to working together across the globe. This international network lets us exchange ideas, advice, and new approaches, making sure we are all ready to face any new challenges.

Working together across countries, we aim to make a real impact, uniting to ensure our public spaces and commercial areas are safe.”

As we continue to strive for safer urban environments, the collaboration between businesses and PSSA members is essential. By working together, we can implement effective HVM strategies that not only protect our shop fronts but also preserve the bustling, vibrant character of our streets. 

This partnership is not just about security; it is about creating spaces where commerce can thrive and where the public can feel safe and welcome. For those interested in protecting their premises, talking to a PSSA member is the first step towards a safer future for all.

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