Assess your Risk

Assessing the threat

It can sometimes be very easy to do a too superficial assessment of hostile vehicle issues that may be faced by a particular location or event and then jump straight to the product selection stage. This in turn can lead to a product solution that is not necessarily the best available or one that is more expensive than necessary, or both. Help with assessing the possible threat and identifying operational requirements is available from a number of sources including:

National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO)

Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSA’s)

The website of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)

Specialist private sector Security Consultants

  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO)

    The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) is a police unit that supports the ‘protect and prepare’ strands of the government’s counter terrorism strategy.

    NaCTSO supports a network of circa 190 counter terrorism security advisors (CTSAs) who work within local police forces as officers and staff. Their primary role is to provide help, advice and guidance on all aspects of counter terrorism protective security to specified industry sectors.

    You can download the latest version of the NaCTSO crowded places guidance document here.

  • Counter Terror Security Advisors (CTSA’s)

    Counter terrorism security advisers (CTSAs) are part of the police service and work with businesses and the community to identify and assess sites that may be vulnerable to terrorist or extremist attack.

    They also work with trade organisations and professional bodies to ensure counter terrorism protective security advice is incorporated into general crime prevention advice and guidance.


    Working with businesses

    CTSAs work with businesses to:

    • devise and develop appropriate protective security plans to minimise impact on their sites and the surrounding community
    • explain the threats from terrorism and advise on resilience


    CTSAs are trained in specialist areas and can provide advice and guidance on:

    • explosives and precursor chemicals
    • pathogens and toxins
    • radiological sources
    • site and vulnerable point surveying
    • integrated security systems
    • designing out vehicle borne terrorism
    • threat from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack

    They are also responsible for the protective security of crowded places (areas where there may be large crowds who could be vulnerable to terrorist attack) for example shopping centres, sporting stadiums, pubs and bars or transport hubs.


    Contact your CTSA

    Please see our downloadable list of CTSA contact details if you wish to contact the CTSA in your police force area.

  • The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)

    The CPNI website provides the following general advice with regards to hostile vehicle mitigation:

    Vehicle-borne threats range from vandalism to sophisticated or aggressive attack by determined criminals or terrorists. The mobility and payload capacity of a vehicle offers a convenient delivery mechanism for a large explosive device, although the vehicle itself may be used as a weapon. The following provides guidance that will help practitioners determine the vehicle-borne threat, assess site strengths and vulnerabilities, and identify suitable options for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) measures.

    Determining the type of vehicle-borne threat being faced

    When specifying the nature of the vehicle-borne threat it is important to understand:

    • Modus Operandi (MO). This includes parked, penetrative, encroachment, deception and duress or a combination of attack methods including surreptitious and forcible attack on the barrier with hand tools or explosives
    • Threat vehicle(s) – Unmodified road vehicles with specific characteristics – mass, speed and structure, as well as vehicle specific capabilities
    • Blast effect – especially if considering VBIED attack
    • Blast stand-off distance – must be considered in conjunction with the site operational needs and security plan


    How do I assess the strengths and vulnerabilities of my site to vehicle-borne threats?

    Once the nature of threat is understood, practitioners should take a methodical and considered approach to determine project objectives and highlight security vulnerabilities:

    Develop detailed security requirements for HVM – Operational Requirements (OR)

    User Requirement Document (URD) if not covered in the detailed requirements – addressing additional business needs e.g. stakeholder liaison, planning and design

    Practical site assessment – a layered approach incorporating the local area, blast stand-off, traffic management and vehicle access control

    Technical assessment – e.g. Vehicle Dynamics Assessment (VDA) at specific locations based on the relevant threat vehicle(s)

    Liaison with technical or security experts – e.g. CPNI or CTSAs, or RSES professionals with relevant experience

    How can I reduce the vulnerability of my site and mitigate vehicle-borne threats?

    Based on the project objectives and site assessment, a range of options can be incorporated into the design of a robust HVM strategy:

    • Principles of hostile vehicle mitigation – determine the aims of the HVM strategy and how it will integrate with other site security measures
    • Traffic calming – can be used to limit vehicle approach speeds to a manageable level
    • Vehicle Security Barriers (VSB) – provide proven vehicle impact protection and maintain blast stand-off.
    • Traffic management – when and how legitimate traffic will access the site
    • Vehicle access control – consider deployment of active VSB solutions, access procedures, long term operational management and emergency access


    Public realm integration

    Integration of HVM measures within the public realm is increasingly common and whilst requiring the application of informed design choices meeting the needs of numerous stakeholders, can provide proportionate security measures without impinging on the needs of local businesses or functionality of the public space.

    In addition to the publication of a public realm design guide for hostile vehicle mitigation CPNI has collaborated with the Department for Transport to produce guidance regarding the incorporation of HVM measures in the public space and specific advice on the use of bollards and their effect on pedestrian movement.

    The related documents and pages provide a range of advice on standards and selection of appropriate measures. External links are listed below:

    ISO – IWA 14-1:2013 Vehicle security barriers – Part 1: Performance requirement, vehicle impact test method and performance rating

    ISO – IWA 14-2:2013 Vehicle security barriers – Part 2: Application

    BSI – PAS 68:2013 Impact test specifications for vehicle security barrier systems

    BSI – PAS 69:2013 Guidance for the selection, installation and use of vehicle security barrier systems

    CEN – CWA 16221:2010 Vehicle security barriers. Performance requirements, test methods and guidance on application

    DFT-TAL 1/16: Influence of bollards on pedestrian evacuation

    DfT-TAL 2/13: Bollards and pedestrian movement

    DfT TAL 1/11 Vehicle security barriers within the streetscape

    Help with understanding the risk and the security requirements of a location

    CPNI advises that an initial Level 1 Operational Requirements assessment be undertaken to develop an initial view of the potential hostile vehicle issues applicable to the location and how it is operating.

    If the level 1 review shows further consideration to be necessary then a more detailed Level 2 Operational Requirements assessment should be undertaken as a follow up measure.

  • Specialist private sector Security Consultants

    A simple google search will bring up private sector security industry consultancies but how to sort one from another? One way is to look for a company or individual that is listed on the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists (RSES). Another is to look for a company or individual that is a member of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA). Alternatively seek recommendations from contacts within your own sector.

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