A result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been fewer crowds gathering for outdoor events. However, sooner or later, crowded events will surge, as will the danger of injury or death from vehicle attacks.

The threats of vehicular violence are still present even though collisions have become less frequent and traffic, in general, is at a significant low. Preparing for such instances remains a high priority, and institutions are seeking to take a preemptive stance to prevent major incidents before they happen.

Vehicle security barriers

Even amid the pandemic, manufacturers of vehicle barriers have not seen a major impact on their sales. “Half of the battle against aggressors perpetrating a vehicle attack is pre-planning,” says Greg Hamm, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Delta Scientific. He says Delta is fortunate to have long-standing trust relationships with many agencies, built over the last 46 years.

We're happy to see that demand for vehicle security barriers has not changed much – customers are preparing for the future when crowds will be present again, and probably larger than ever,” adds Stuart Glen, National Sales Manager of Jackson’s Fencing. “Lots of councils are using the downtime to install or upgrade security around town and city centers, which is promising.” Physical structures such as bollards, barriers, and barricades can stop a vehicle from entering a high-foot-traffic area. Temporary venues can deploy portable barriers.

Physical structures such as bollards, barriers, and barricades can stop a vehicle from entering a high-foot-traffic area
"We're happy to see that demand for vehicle security barriers has not changed much"

Fully automated system

The first consideration is the level of security required for a particular location. A parking garage for a foreign embassy or federal courthouse will require far more serious security measures than a parking lot for a mall. Other primary factors to consider include the frequency of vehicles moving in and out and whether there will be vehicle inspections performed or a fully automated system at the entrance.

A key challenge when protecting people from vehicle attacks is trying to ensure that the public are kept safe, but do not feel worried or overly aware of any risks,” says Glen. “People should feel protected and be able to move freely. Discreet measures such as bollards are ideal as they don't restrict pedestrian flow but are very effective in the case of a hostile vehicle attack.”

Sparking future assaults

The use of vehicles as tools of destruction has become one of the top concerns for security specialists

Events and sports venues need increased protection as they are likely targets due to the high numbers of crowds. Places of worship are sadly another target that should be given extra protection, says Glen. 

The use of vehicles as tools of destruction has become one of the top concerns for security specialists. This tactic has grown popular regardless of ideology and is especially alarming when coupled with cars’ accessibility. In many places, individuals only need a valid driver’s license to rent a truck. News of a particular attack encourages or inspires other individuals to perpetuate the same form of violence. Unfortunately, this creates a feedback loop as more reports emerge following these tragedies, potentially sparking future assaults.

Straightforward security solutions

In the case of vehicle-ramming attacks, there are straightforward security solutions to protect patrons. Delta Scientific offers over 100 product designs, emphasising barriers that stop and destroy attacking vehicles. Delta’s barriers carry crash ratings from PU50 up to K54 and include sophisticated control systems that provide custom optimisation. Control systems feature the latest, most advanced protection technology. Early warning systems enable active security measures built into Delta products plus alert features to on-site security personnel.

Delta Scientific’s High Security Protection and Barricade Systems are used internationally by governments, armed forces, federal agencies, private corporations, and other industries. Jackson’s Fencing’s range of solutions includes fencing, bollards, road blockers, and gates. They have been tested to PAS 68 standards and can stop a 7.5-ton vehicle travelling at 50mph (80km/h). The products come with a 25-year guarantee.

Attractive timber appearance

They offer crash ratings up to M50 and include both automated barriers and passive bollards

In addition, their unique Linebacker PNR system is a cable crash fence, encased within a timber post and rail fence, offering a completely discreet yet highly effective vehicle security barrier with an attractive timber appearance. Facilities that require day-to-day employee and civilian access need permanent solutions installed to thwart daily terror threats, says Hamm of Delta Scientific.

Solutions include wedge barriers, bollards, beams, and sliding gates with high duty cycles and excellent reliability coupled with appropriate crash ratings. Local fairs and festivals, parades, conventions, sports, and vaccination sites utilise portable barriers that can be towed into place and set up within 30 minutes. They offer crash ratings up to M50 and include both automated barriers and passive bollards. They can be plugged into a local 120v source and provide a portable solution that allows vehicle throughput by pushing a button.

Vehicle-borne attacks

Both temporary and permanent barriers are extremely effective, says Glen of Jackson’s Fencing. Temporary barriers can be deployed rapidly and removed when a threat has passed (for example, an event such as the London marathon, where large crowds gather), while permanent measures are used for sites that will always be a high-risk target. Glen says temporary barriers also generally have a more dominating appearance and wider footprint.

Temporary barriers can be used immediately after a risk assessment highlights vehicle-borne attacks as a threat
Permanent measures are used for sites that will always be a high-risk target. 

Temporary barriers can be used immediately after a risk assessment highlights vehicle-borne attacks as a threat to a site before permanent measures are installed. They can help to identify the ideal positioning of permanent barriers – often it's a case of trial and error before finding a solution that works well for one’s particular needs. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided certification according to the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002.

Access control products

This certification minimises insurance risks for organisations that deploy authorised Delta vehicle access control products to protect against terrorists and errant drivers. All products certified are covered retroactively back to 1984 and are now authorised to carry the SAFETY Act Designated mark. By minimising insurance risks to deploying authorised Delta vehicle access systems, this certification lets customers feel comfortable knowing that they have the full faith and backing of the Department of Homeland Security.

A common planning deficiency occurs when designers choose non-certified barriers or barricades

A common planning deficiency occurs when designers choose non-certified barriers or barricades. Certified equipment has been tested and proven to work under extreme conditions, thus giving planners the confidence they rely on. No area is more critical to the vehicle barrier selection process than testing. Without adequate testing, there is no assurance that the barrier will resist the threat.

Independent testing company

Testing is normally done by an independent testing company or government agency, such as the Department of State (DOS) and ASTM. Comprehensive reports of test results are issued and are available from the testing agency or manufacturer.

A common misconception among the general public is that the barriers are ‘ugly,’ but this often comes from the appearance of temporary barriers that are installed for testing purposes before deciding on permanent measures. Temporary barriers often have a large footprint because they have no foundations and can be quite obtrusive. There are actually many discreet and attractive permanent solutions such as road blockers and stainless steel rising bollards, which allow flexible control over entry and security, and can be rapidly activated.

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Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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