Consider Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) to protect against vehicle-borne terrorism, writes the BSIA (British Security Industry Association).
In October 2016, Lord Toby Harris published his independent review of London’s preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident. The review came following the terrible events witnessed in Paris on November 13, 2015 and in Brussels on March 22, 2016. In that review, he recommended that consideration should be given by the Greater London Authority and relevant local authorities to the wider installation of protective bollards in areas of vulnerability around London and to explore the case for retractable bollards in certain areas.
Following the devastating attack on Westminster in March 2017, the case for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) solutions will be stronger than ever. HVM in various forms, is – and has been – the initial ‘go to’ product to stop vehicle-borne threats, such as the Westminster attack, and Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) attacks such as the Glasgow Airport Attack in 2007. HVM can include products such as bollards, concrete planters, concrete benches and other physical architecture, or more mobile solutions such as water or sand filled barriers that are lifted into place to provide some, but not guaranteed, protection. Rudimentary temporary solutions may also include other vehicles – potentially emergency vehicles – and boulders, concrete blocks or other heavy objects that can be relatively easily moved at reduced cost.
If it is decided that Hostile Vehicle Mitigation is required, it is essential that careful thought is given to the security and operational requirements of the site. Considering these requirements at the earliest stage of the project design will help to reduce the need for expensive remedial action should the wrong products be selected. The primary issues to consider when procuring HVM will be around the cost of installation and suitability of the solution – thus, careful selection of the product is imperative. Concerns around existing infrastructure and utilities, existing hardware and hard landscaping, the proximity to points of egress or access, as well as integration with the existing streetscape and how it impacts pedestrians and vehicular movement are all key considerations.
An experienced security consultant can carry out bespoke security practical site assessments which consider the existing architecture and what HVM measures would be most practicable. No ‘one size fits all’ design is available, each case would need an individual assessment to establish how HVM would work in collaboration with other, existing security measures. Members of the BSIA’s Specialist Services section have a wealth of expertise and experience and are able to provide guidance on a range of counter-terror related security products and services.