The newest form of terrorist attack, that from the suicide car or truck bomber, is a very real threat, one, that as incidents in London and at Glasgow Airport in 2007 proved, could have devastating consequences. These events highlighted the need to provide adequate protection against this emerging terrorist tactic for crowded places such as major transport hubs like these, as well as sports arenas and shopping centres,
This form of terrorist attack, using a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), has been used to cause significant damage and has lead to tragic loss of life, in several parts of the world in recent years. The terrorist threat to the UK is not receding and the threat level, as issued by HM Government, is still at ‘severe,’ meaning that a terrorist attack is ‘highly likely’.
The Government has been highly active in recent years in making UK citizens aware of the terrorist threat through bodies such as NatCTSO (National Counter Terrorism Security Office,
www.nactso.gov.uk) and the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure, www.cpni.gov.uk). Both organisations work with Government security services to help reduce the impact of terrorism in the UK by protecting the country’s most vulnerable sites and assets and by enhancing our resilience to terrorist attack.
Guidance for owners of football stadiums and sports arenas
Specific guidance on how to protect sports arenas from terrorist attack is now available from NatCTSO. The organisation’s publication, ‘Counter Terrorism Protective Security Advice for Stadia and Arenas’, is intended to give protective security advice to those who are responsible for stadium and arena security, irrespective of size and capacity, and is not specific to any particular sport or event.
When designing a new sports facility, or when the owner is in the process of a major upgrade to an existing site, the concept of ‘Security by Design’ needs to be embraced. Practical advice on how to design to protect from terrorist attack can be obtained from local Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSAs) and Architectural Liaison Officers (ALOs), all contactable through local police offices, who can give a wide range of impartial advice on terrorist and crime related subjects to planners, developers, builders, landlords and estate/facility managers etc.
Security by Design
The purpose of a ‘Security by Design’ approach involves the use of blast resistant materials, the embracing of appropriate building design methodologies and implementation of relevant site layouts and perimeter security schemes in order to reduce the consequences of a VBIED attack to ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practical). This is achieved by providing resistance to explosive delivery devices, within reasonable cost restraints, to reduce the impact of an explosive blast, thus enabling the building to maintain its function and to protect its occupants and those close by.
A ‘Security by Design’ approach is mostly adopted in the case of new structures but the techniques can be equally applied to existing buildings and sites. The approach involves looking at three main areas; below ground, the building frame and the façade and site perimeter.
Below Ground: This typically houses the building’s car park, ‘goods in and out’ and many building services (electrical, water, telecommunications). An explosion here can leave the structure vulnerable to partial or complete collapse as well as impacting severely on building services.
Protecting this part of the structure involves strengthening these basement floors with a blast resistant material, providing blast resistant protection for the room(s) that house the key building services and strengthening escape routes for occupants in event of an explosion.
Building frame and façade: This can be given additional resilience through the installation of robust protection in the form of a high integrity structural building core that will help ensure against collapse in event of an explosion. Additionally, key building services and escape routes on ground and upper floors can be blast protected. The façade of the structure also needs to be protected against blast caused by a vehicle carrying an explosive device penetrating the ground floor of the building. This type of protection is required where protective street furniture such as bollards, planters or security walls cannot be used due to space restrictions at tight inner-city locations.
Site perimeters: Perimeters need to be secured against un-authorized vehicle entry and attack by VBIED by installing a combination of heavy-duty gates, bollards, walls or barriers. For highly security-sensitive sites a high performance system offering robust protection is required.
To protect site perimeters Corus has developed a range of permanent solutions to address the ongoing terrorist threat by providing high levels of stand-off and site perimeter protection at security sensitive locations. These Bi-Steel bollard and wall systems meet the performance standards of PAS 68:2007, the accepted UK classification system for vehicle security barriers and their supporting foundations when subjected to horizontal impact. Bi-Steel is a Corus-patented steel/concrete composite material that offers unrivalled performance in the most demanding situations.
Corus has also developed a redeployable vehicle barrier system using its Bi-Steel material, designed to meet the requirements for rapid, temporary deployment, effective vehicle stopping and protection of people and assets. A robust system, it can be quickly deployed with minimum disruption, typically on a short or medium term basis, providing an ideal solution for protecting people at major sports events, party political conferences, state visits and demonstrations/marches.
Of particular interest to owners of sports stadia is the new heavy-duty pedestrian portal which has just recently been developed by Corus Bi-Steel. This facilitates quick, easy and uninterrupted access by the public through Corus’ redeployable vehicle barriers. The new Corus Quick Link Lite redeployable vehicle barriers are fast to install and highly effective.
Corus barriers, bollards and walls have already been used to protect the Palace of Westminster, New Scotland Yard, Stansted Airport and other locations of strategic infrastructure. Most recently Corus barriers were used to protect delegates to the G20 Summit in London.
Ensuring schemes are aesthetically pleasing
In the past the role of aesthetics might not have been as fully considered as it should have been in some of the perimeter protection schemes implemented. This has all changed, and in designing any new project, care is now taken to ensure that the scheme is sensitive to its immediate environment, whilst, at the same time, being fit for purpose. And, particularly in the case of inner city schemes, the solution chosen should be uncomplicated and easy to install.
Corus has worked on several high profile projects where the aesthetics of the schemes have been paramount The systems have been carefully designed to blend sympathetically with the local environment and can be painted, clad in brick or stone, or cement rendered in keeping with the surrounding streetscape. This is particularly important in the case of larger sports stadia where protective security measures need to be effective, look unobtrusive, whilst at the same time facilitating easy access.
With the London 2012 Olympics looming ever closer on the horizon there is work to be done to ensure that large sports stadia are fully protected from terrorist attack. Fortunately, expert guidance is now available and qualified help readily to hand through Government departments and agencies, and from experienced commercial organizations such as Corus who have much knowledge of this specialist field.