counter terror

Anti-terror physical protection in 2017: how to reduce vulnerability to terror attack

Emily Thompson

Marketing manager, BFT Automation

Author Bio ▼

Emily Thompson is marketing manager for BFT Automation, which develops innovative access automation solutions for residential, commercial and urban contexts. It has more than 500 distributors in 120 countries.
February 16, 2017

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The UK terror threat has been at severe since 29 August 2014.

At the time the Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying they “recognise that the threat level is at ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely, and have considered a range of threats, including the use of large vehicles.”

Since then, Europe has seen some atrocious attacks, including two in Brussels, several in Paris, and attacks in Berlin, Dijon, Nantes, Copenhagen, Zvornik, Diyarbakır, Lyon, Ankara, Sarajevo, Magnanville, Istanbul, Wurzburg, Munich, Ansbach and Rouen.

On 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and injuring 434. This was the fourth time a vehicle has been used as a weapon in a a type of attack called vehicle ramming.

There’s no doubting that the growing terror threat has elevated the importance of security and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

What are the targets?

From history, we can see that high value and political buildings – like embassies and government buildings – are a prime target. However, crowded places seem to be a favourite target for terrorists as they cause maximum injury and loss of life.

These places could be permanent places of assembly, like transport hubs, sports stadiums, shopping centres, pubs/bars, shopping centres, high streets, visitor attractions, cinemas, theatres and commercial centres. Temporary places of assembly such as festivals, protests, outdoor worship, road races and parades, are also prime targets.

What can you do?

Depending on the site, there are a range of physical counter-terror measures that can work to protect life, businesses, and buildings from terror attacks. These include:

Traffic management systems

  • Traffic barriers
  • Fixed, manual and automated rising bollards
  • Parking systems
  • ANPR cameras
  • Perimeter fencing

Access control

  • Electronic locks
  • Commercial access entry systems
  • Intercom systems
  • Body scanners
  • Stop and search staff/sniffer dogs
  • Metal detectors


IFSEC International is launching Borders and Infrastructure for 2017 edition. Find out more about this new “show within a show” dedicated to perimeter security, physical protection and other security technologies for the protection of borders and critical national infrastructure 


It’s also considering CCTV. Although not a prevention tool, CCTV can be a deterrent and is important for post incident investigations too.

One measure that BFT Automation have vast experience in, is helping a range of businesses, banks, government buildings and similar to counter Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM).

As already discussed in this article, one of the most effective ways that terrorists have for delivery of a large quantity of bombs or weapons are vehicles such as cars, vans, and lorries. Typically, there are five styles of attack adopted:

Entry by Duress: against the operator of an entry barrier system or against the vehicle driver who has legitimate access to the site.

Encroachment: an attack which exploits any gap in the perimeter defences or by tailgating a legitimate vehicle through a barrier system.

Entry by deception: either human deception or using a ‘Trojan’ vehicle.

Parked: stationary vehicles turned into improvised explosive devices (IODs).

Penetrative: otherwise known as ‘vehicle ramming’ or ‘ram raiding’.

Anti-terror hydraulic rising bollards

One solution to help address some of these methods is to use anti-terror hydraulic rising bollards. We are finding that with the growing threat of global terrorism, more and more businesses and local authorities feel the need for anti-terrorist crash rated automatic rising bollards, as a means of perimeter protection, but what exactly does crash rated mean?

The difference between crash tested and non-crash tested bollards is certification by an agency such as the Department of State, or Department of Defence. There are some cases of products being described as crash tested without being tested by an independent agency. If in doubt, ask to see a copy of the certificate from the certifying agency.

Anti-terrorist, or crash rated, bollards are able to withstand a higher impact than standard bollards, and still remain functional thus maintaining the integrity of the perimeter protection.

Hydraulic rising bollards are a key piece of anti-terror equipment. There are varying sizes and levels of automated bollards which must meet international standards.

Bollards can protect vulnerable sites and crowded areas from parked, penetrative and encroachment attacks.

About crash testing

Antiterrorism bollards need to be tested and certified by an independent body such as Mira Horiba according to standards IWA14-1:2013 V/7200[N3C]/80/90 and PAS 68:2010 7500/50/N2 crash simulated (formerly K12 and K4, single bollard).


IFSEC International is launching Borders and Infrastructure for 2017 edition. Find out more about this new “show within a show” dedicated to perimeter security, physical protection and other security technologies for the protection of borders and critical national infrastructure 

Free Download: Securing the UK’s borders.

Getting national security and Brexit right first time is crucial, we do not want to get this wrong. This report considers the implications of leaving the EU for the management of the UK’s borders and making it as easy as possible for international business to thrive and legitimate movement to occur in a post-Brexit UK.

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