Deployable Hostile Vehicle Mitigation – is it being driven properly?

It’s heartening to see that deployable Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) is now much higher on the agenda of those managing or operating large events that attract large crowds, and where the crowds need to be isolated from the threat of ‘Vehicle as a Weapon’ attacks. This includes large concerts, outdoor events, stadiums, and of course at this time of year; Christmas Markets.

What is still worrying though is just how the final configuration and use of HVM is often decided. At Crowdguard we see many instances of HVM choice and configuration being based on arbitrary budgets, and often without proper (sometimes any) reference to the now well published assessment processes which revolve around;

  • Proper assessment of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the site/event to vehicle-borne threats, and;
  • Development of detailed security requirements for HVM; the Operational Requirement Document (ORD).

The Operational Requirement Document is key. Configuring effective HVM takes a lot of skill and experience. Undertaking a proper site/area assessment, understanding vehicle dynamics, interpreting HVM product impact tests, balancing requirements of traffic management, vehicle access control, not to mention how this integrates with all stakeholders’ needs is not for the uninitiated.

However, there is tremendous help, skill and experience available. The first step should always be to contact the appropriate regional Counter Terrorism Security Adviser (CTSA). CTSAs are there to help and are trained in these and many related areas such as vehicle borne terrorism, explosives, vehicles as a weapon, surveying and integration of multiple security systems and regimes, and have access to other specialists and experts across the public and private organisations that specialise in this area.

With the exception of the very largest, there are few organisations either private or public, with the internal expertise to consider everything necessary to produce a proper O.R.D. Yet without this any money spent on deployable HVM could at best be completely wasted, and at worst could be responsible for unnecessary loss of life, irreparable human damage, and hugely costly and disruptive damage to property and infrastructure. On top of this of course is the potential fall out in terms of personal liability that can then land on the organisation and its leaders responsible for not having produced a proper ORD in the first place.

It is no longer acceptable to place council vehicles as a sort of makeshift defence scheme (the effectiveness of this is almost unknown, uncalibrated, and highly questionable), or deploy the cheapest HVM product available without the understanding that a proper O.R.D. provides.

Crowdguard are a specialist HVM provider and installer, dedicated to increasing public safety and freedom, for crowds and public events and would implore anyone setting out to procure deployable HVM to take as a first step, regardless of any other considerations, the development of an appropriate Operational Requirement Document.

Article written by Crowdguard Director, Laurence Goode FCMI

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