Perimeter Security

Permanent physical protection against hostile vehicle attack

Paul Jeffrey, chairman of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association, writes for Counter Terror Business about permanent solutions for full perimeters, including entry point protocol

These days, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation or HVM is a very common type of specialist security protection used primarily to keep distance between a threat vehicle and its target. This mitigation can be seen in many forms covering both entry point and static perimeter, as well as perimeter extension, to create improved stand off from the main target infrastructure. While the perimeter is one of the key locations for security measures to be introduced, it should be noted that perimeter security should always be regarded as just one of a series of layered security measures designed to protect sites from attack.

With the ever expanding levels of protection, the potential targets have become far more wide ranging and now include sites that historically would never have been considered at high risk of attack. This is primarily due to the fact that security measures are aimed at protecting vulnerabilities and rarely address the underlying threat which simply moves to the next most accessible target.

Our role in the security industry is to provide suitable protection where needed while still being conscious of the impact of the measures introduced on other elements. These elements would include employees as well as the public that are put at increased risk as a result of the measures and other infrastructure more likely to be impacted as a result of greater stand off at a protected site.

An example of these considerations is - if a threat and risk assessment leading to an Operational Requirements plan (ORP) has been completed and the need for entry point vehicle security barriers (VSB’s) to protect against a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) forms part of the operational requirement, then there is clearly a real threat of an event. The installation of VSB’s will consequently create the location where the event is expected to materialise. It is likely that this location will include the need for operational security presence and will almost certainly be closer to public space and infrastructure. This potential risk to third parties comes with a duty of care to mitigate the consequential impact on others and should be carefully considered wherever possible.

These enhanced threats to others are one of the reasons that any measures to increase protection to sites must be appropriate and proportionate to the threat and should always consider any third party or environmental impact resulting in their use.

Static perimeter security systems can now incorporate high levels of forced entry protection, impact resistance against hostile vehicle attack and intrusion detection at both ground and aerial level (drone attack). It is important for system designers to fully understand what is expected from a perimeter’s resilience, whether this is deterrent, detection or delay to enable guard force intervention. For larger sites with big perimeters, it is often more practical to designate high security areas within a site and focus on the protection of these areas rather than to try and support high level protection around the full site perimeter.

Entry and exit point controls have additional complexities to those found on the static perimeter as they must incorporate a continuous operational protocol to enable a controlled flow of vehicles (and pedestrians) through. Typical solutions would include VSB’s deployed in a format to enable controlled entry/exit while still being able to deny access.

Outside the general security requirements needed, some considerations often missed include: vehicle turnaround – if a vehicle is denied access there must be a facility to allow the vehicle to leave without having to access the site; traffic flow – the introduction of vehicle control measures will generally slow access to the site and this can result in traffic congestion backing up onto highways; aesthetics – some solutions are deliberately designed to be unwelcoming (eg Roadblockers) while others are designed to be more acceptable to the users of the facility (eg Bollards); visibility – guardhouse controls need to be operated by staff that have full visibility of the control point to be effective; and guard force protection.

There are a wide range of products for static perimeter and entry point protection and careful selection is essential to maximise the benefit to the solution. The ORP should identify suitable levels of resilience for each element of the solutions and these will include impact testing, forced entry, detection parameters and operational capabilities. Any perimeter security system designer should fully understand the different standards in use covering security products.

Obviously, any security system is only as good as the operational protocol and training given to the guard force. The implementation of a secure perimeter is often a complex process and can be eased by the use of specialist consultants to help identify and manage the risks within the operational and budget constraints. In addition, there is always plenty of help available for this from the regional CT SecCo’s, CTSA’s or direct from CPNI (see links below).

It is always worth keeping abreast of the latest government security advice as there are many relevant guidance documents available that would support security planning and good staff training is essential (eg ACT – Action Counters Terrorism). A review of relevant resources provided by CPNI is time well spent!


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