Over the past couple of years, stadiums and tourist attractions across the world have become key targets for terrorist attacks due to the regular heavy footfall in and around the venue. Just last year, we suffered a devastating attack right on our doorstep, which happened at the Manchester Arena in May.
In November 2015, we saw attacks on a concert venue and the national football stadium in Paris, and at the end of 2016, a football stadium in Istanbul became the target of an attack.
Following these incidents, stadium security has been severely tightened ahead of major cultural and sporting events. But, with summer just around the corner, and popular sporting events, such as the Common Wealth Games, the Grand National and the Boston, Manchester and London Marathons, only a few months away, security must remain at the forefront of stadium managers’ minds.
So, what measures should be put in place to mitigate against future attacks?
Protecting the perimeter with bollards and barriers
When events are about to take place, huge crowds will often gather outside the venue, as they queue to get in, or wait for transport to get home once the event has finished. Whatever the reason for the crowds, they make the ideal target for terror attacks that aim to cause as much destruction as possible. That’s because terrorists are now opting to use vehicles as weapons, rather than planting bombs or using guns or knifes, as its much easier to access a van or car. And large vehicles can cause huge amounts of damage in just a short space of time.
To protect crowds of people on a temporary basis, separating attendees and vehicles is particularly effective. This could be done by closing off pedestrian areas or including temporary road closures. However, these spaces need to be pedestrian permeable to keep exits clear and allow people and crowds to move around freely, especially in an emergency situation. It’s also important to avoid creating a ‘fortress mentality’ so that attendees feel relaxed, rather than worrying about the risk of attack.
An ideal way to effectively secure the perimeter of a stadium or other type of event venue from vehicle attacks would be to deploy specially designed, temporary vehicle mitigation bollards and barriers.
Many Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers are designed to blend in easily with a location’s surroundings so they don’t cause unnecessary alarm to the public. Advancements have meant that such barriers can now withstand the impact of cars and vans, along with larger vehicles, such as trucks or lorries. This is normally perceived as too ambitious for temporary, surface mounted measures There are however products available which are surface mounted and that can stop vehicles weighing 2,500 kg travelling at 48 kph, and some are now even capable of withstanding the impact from vehicles weighing 7,200 kg travelling at 32 kph.
Importantly, these barriers have been designed to be compact and lightweight, so they can be transported and deployed quickly and easily. There will be no need to close down roads or use heavy machinery, reducing the level of disruption caused to attendees and the public to a minimum. The permeable design also makes it possible for wheelchair users, cyclists and parents with prams to easily pass through with ease. They can even allow emergency vehicle access if required.
With 2018 now in full swing, and lots of popular events set to go ahead in the coming months, more focus must be put on improving stadium security and other similar venues to protect attendees and the wider public. By assessing the level of risk for each venue— examining recent attacks on areas that fit the venue profile—security personnel must consider all aspects of security needed to protect individual venues and help prevent future incidents. Permanent and temporary measures are available to suit client security requirements.