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PSSA Joins Fight against VAW

Last updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - Save & Share

A trade body has launched a new online source of help and information about hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) in conjunction with a division of the Home Office.

The Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA) has developed the HVMHub with the support of the Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC) in direct response to the dramatic increase in the terrorist use of vehicles as a weapon (VAW) since 2016.

Since the June 2016 lorry attack on pedestrians in Nice there have been VAW attacks in a Berlin Christmas market, London Westminster, London Bridge, Stockholm, and Las Ramblas in Barcelona. These are examples rather than an exhaustive list but just in the examples given there were 130 deaths and over 700 injuries.

Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain

PSSA chairman Simon Towers said: “Virtually any location with reasonable density of people on foot has become a potential target for such attacks.

“So, in recent times we have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of calls into the PSSA office from people and organisations trying to assess whether or not they have a potential problem with VAW and, if so, where they can get help in addressing the problem.”

The PSSA believes that anyone responsible for safety and security of premises or an event location has a clear duty of care and should therefore, in the current climate of heightened security awareness, be considering the extent to which vehicle or vehicle-borne terrorist attacks may be a realistic threat to the people or premises that they are seeking to protect.

This belief is based upon the current official threat level for international related terrorism in the UK being severe, which as defined by the UK security services means a terror attack of some description is highly likely.

The PSSA advocates spending an appropriate amount of effort in properly assessing the possible threat and in identifying the operational requirements of a location. Help is available from a number of sources including the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSAs), the website of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), specialist private sector security consultants and now the HVMHub.

The HVMHub includes a host of  information including threat risk assessment and operational requirement guidance, solution considerations, product options, testing standards explanations, spec writing and installer selection tips, links to other reputable sources of information, and relevant downloadable documents.

Relevant parties can also gain access to the HVMhub Continuous Professional Development (CPD) seminar programme, whereby PSSA-trained presenters can come out and share the latest industry information on a variety of HVM topics.

The PSSA advises to consider whether the HVM measure covers a temporary or permanent need – suggesting surface-mounted as opposed to foundation-based solutions respectively.  It also advises considering knock-on unintentional effects, such as queueing traffic, impeded access and aesthetics.

Rising bollards, for example, can be made to have a more sympathetic aesthetic quality when compared to road blockers, which give a more emphatic message on access restriction. Understanding the message the equipment will send can lead to a more socially acceptable solution, says the PSSA.

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