Protection against attacks with the use of vehicles

AuthorVasilis Karlos - Martin Larcher
4!Protection against attacks with the use of vehicles
Terrorist attacks and other malicious acts often target critical infrastructures and public spaces which are
characterized by limited protection measures. A tendency has recently appeared to target these unprotected
places by means of ramming vehicles that are either deliberately driven at high speed against the public to
maximize human casualties or are used for transporting an improvised explosive device (IED) close to a facility.
An effective physical perimeter protection strategy of a site aims to minimize the threat of unauthorized vehicle
access and set a minimum stand-off distance between the asset to be protected and its perimeter.
Over the last decades, various physical protection measures against unauthorised vehicle access have been
developed and applied in public spaces, around buildings and critical infrastructures. Nevertheless, these
measures have not always been selected based on a structured approach, designed to take into consideration
the unique characteristics of each potential target, but largely depend on practices adopted by the local
authorities and the availability of specific solutions. Clearly, traffic rules do not apply to drivers with malevolent
intentions, so there is a growing need for designing and implementing an approach that supports the selection
of simple, tailor-made and effective perimeter protection measures. This selection procedure can be used by
premise owners, building designers, security officials, technical experts or other interested professionals. The
proposed framework is graphically demonstrated in Fig. 31.
Figure 31. Selection approach for anti-ramming vehicle barrier selection.
For the purposes of this document, vehicle barriers are devices or other structural obstacles that allow the
controlled access of vehicles to an area designated as protected. These barriers should be specifically designed
and c apable of stopping an ill-intentioned vehicle that attempts to breach the security perimeter. A proper
layout of barriers may also be adopted that aims at reducing the speed of threat vehicles to render them
incapable of provoking victims and destruction. They are placed across roadways and passages and can be
active or passive, permanent or temporary and come under various technical and commercial names as bollards,
wedge barriers, beam barriers, concrete Jersey barriers, ha-ha barriers etc. Moreover, they can even take the
form of concrete sitting benches, flower planters, artistic elements, sculptures etc.
The material that is presented in the current document focuses on vehicle barriers that are mainly utilized for
security and not safety purposes. The distinction between the two categories is a challenging task as they both
share many common characteristics and they can satisfy different protection needs. Safety barriers are used
for preventing and/or mitigating the results of an accident (errant vehicle) that can result in life loss, injuries or
environmental destruction. On the other hand, vehi cle secur ity barr iers are adopted f or creati ng a phys ical
obstacle against unauthorized entry and other form of relevant attacks, aiming at protecting human life and
damage of property.
In light of the rising debate on effective solutions that could reduce and/or mitigate the risk from a vehicle-
ramming attack and protection against vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), the current guidance
highlights the steps that should be followed towards the design and selection of appropriate tailor-made
physical security barriers. In this chapter only the part concerning the site survey and the available protection
measures is presented, as the risk asses sment process has already been presented in Chapter 2.
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Recent attacks
Modus operandi
magazines etc.
Attack routes
Site geometry
Vulnerabilities etc.
Vehicle size
Vehicle speed
Road geometry etc.
Security by
design etc.

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