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April 7, 2020

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The State of Physical Access Control in EMEA Businesses – 2020 Report

Counter-terror

Strategies for preventing ‘vehicles as a weapon’ attacks

Under the guidance of Scott Gibbons from the Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters, Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA, explains three key strategies that transport operators can employ to keep their drivers, and the wider UK public, safe.

Vehicles as a weapon (VAW) attacks present a real threat to UK security and it is vital that drivers of commercial vehicles are aware of the risks. While VAW attacks are not a new concept, the 2016 Nice terror attack – where a 19-tonne lorry truck was driven into a large crowd – was a wake-up call for policing and led security forces around the world to issue advice on how drivers can prevent future attacks.

Seek support

Firstly, transport operators should read the guidance available freely on GOV.UK. The report, Countering vehicle as a weapon: best practice guidance for goods vehicles operators and drivers provides the perfect place to start. Produced by the VAW government working group, the report details practical steps businesses can take to help reduce the threat of goods vehicles being used as a weapon.

FTA also recommends that operators engage with their local Counter Terrorism Security Advisor. These advisers are highly trained police officers that provide specialist counter terrorism advice to security teams and companies.

Be alert

While the threat of a terrorist attack in Britain has been recently downgraded to ‘substantial’, this is no reason for complacency; we must all remain alert.  Businesses can help the fight against terrorism by identifying and reporting unusual behaviour, and internal security operatives should encourage this. For example, if they notice an employee or a colleague has started to become more radical in their views, do not wait to report them.


Key resources


Security teams should develop clear procedures for staff to follow if they do notice any unusual behaviour; these processes should be briefed fully to the workforce. And with the public contributing intelligence to around a third of the most serious terrorism investigations, staff should not worry about potentially wasting police time; their insight is often very valuable.

As use of HGVs is heavily regulated – due to the operator licensing regime – it is not easy for would-be terrorists to gain possession of a truck. For example, in the first London Bridge attack, the terrorists resorted to using a van as they were unable to source a larger vehicle. As such, we recommend those working within the commercial vehicle rental sector remain vigilant by asking customers pressing questions. For example, questioning why they require a large vehicle. Similarly, we encourage those working in vehicle sales to become more vigilant, and request copies of driving licences and proof of insurance.

Company culture

Finally, businesses must ensure they foster an open work culture and encourage regular engagement. A strong awareness of security risks and precautionary behaviour will help to mitigate the chance of involvement in a VAW, by promoting compliance with security measures, awareness and vigilance.

Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Representing all of the UK’s logistics industry, FTA supports shaping and standing up for safe and efficient logistics.

Do you work in the logistics sector? You may be interested in content from our sister title, SHD Logistics.

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