How sports stadia can protect against hostile vehicle terror threats


The threat of terrorism in the UK remains serious and, even without the changes likely to be imposed by the Protect Duty Bill, sports stadia reviewing their protective security strategy will need reassurance that the measures they’re taking will go far enough to protect themselves against an attack.

Following the Protect Duty Bill’s inclusion in the latest Queen’s Speech, Richard Winstanley at BFT Automation explores the role of Hostile Vehicle Mitigation in a stadium’s protective security strategy.

Given the complex nature of stadia security, most venues are likely to have some measures in place to protect staff and the public in the event of a terror attack. But with the Protect Duty Bill taking a step closer to becoming legislation, operators will need to make sure such measures are fully embedded into their wider security strategies.

Otherwise known as Martyn’s Law, the Bill follows the campaign launched by the mother of Martyn Hett, who was among those who tragically lost their lives in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. Under the legislation, venues such as stadia will be required by law to devise and provide specific security plans for a terror attack.

As hostile vehicles have become increasingly relied on by those seeking to launch an attack, it’s important to consider Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) as part of any protective security strategy.

Anti-terror bollards are a practical option to protect a venue against a hostile vehicle attack, but there are a number of points to consider before deciding which solution is best.

Fixed vs automated bollards

Fixed bollards can present a clear, visible deterrent to potential attackers and are an ideal solution for areas that are typically accessed via foot, by bike or where people congregate.

And in cases where the visual impact of bollards might jar with the aesthetics of the immediate setting, there are products available that can preserve the appearance of the surrounding environment, while providing safety. There are options for both colour and finish.

However, given the heavy reliance on vehicle access for the majority of stadia, a solution such as retractable bollards come into play for all points where vehicles need to travel in and out of the site. This offers flexibility to accommodate temporary changes in traffic flow or events.

Site assessment

A site assessment to look at how the HVM solution would work in practice is recommended and installers and manufacturers can advise on practical details that will influence what make of bollard a security team decides to use.

It’s also worth considering whether the bollards provide protection from both small and large vehicles, plus whether they can withstand the potential approach speed attainable at the site in question.

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) is a useful starting point to find out more about the range of bollard options available. A Government backed resource for physical and personnel protective security, the website includes details on HVM barriers, with an interactive online list of vehicle security barriers that meet all regulations and standards, including crash test certification:

Another useful resource is the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA), which has a dedicated hub of information purely on HVM:

HVM has an important role to play when forming an effective physical security strategy for stadia looking to protect themselves from a potential act of terror or any other serious crimes where a hostile vehicle could be used.

A member of the PSSA, BFT Automation is a manufacturer and distributor of entrance automation technology that controls access for people and vehicles in commercial, residential and urban environments.

Richard Winstanley

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