Hostile Vehicle Mitigation

This section contains guidance to help practitioners determine the vehicle-borne threat, assess site strengths and vulnerabilities, and identify suitable options for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation.

Last updated: 27 November 2020

Introduction to vehicle borne threats

Vehicle borne threats range from vandalism to sophisticated or aggressive attack by terrorists or determined criminals. Vehicles (such as cars, vans and lorries) are widely available and terrorists have previously gained access to them through a number of means: 

  • Owned – a vehicle is under the attacker’s possession
  • Borrowed – a vehicle is lent by an unwitting or complicit associate
  • Leased – a vehicle is hired from a company, using real or fake documentation
  • Stolen – a stationary, unattended (locked or keys in ignition) vehicle is taken
  • Hijacked – an occupied vehicle, parked inside or outside a protected area, is seized.

During a terrorist attack, the driver is unlikely to comply with the rules of the road. They will:

  • Traverse over green spaces such as fields, recreational ground, parks
  • Park illegally
  • Ignore traffic signals
  • Drive at speed
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road
  • Mount footways
  • Enter pedestrianised zones.

Terrorists use vehicles in three main ways to enable an attack:

Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED)

Vehicle As a Weapon (VAW)

Layered Attack – Vehicle transporting attackers and / or weapons

Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED)

An improvised explosive device is either visible or concealed within a vehicle and transported to target.

The effects from a VBIED detonation include the blast, fireball, primary & secondary fragmentation and ground shock.  

The blast stand-off (the distance between the device and the asset) is the most important factor in determining the extent of damage that can be caused. Maximising the blast stand-off distance will reduce the damage sustained to the asset.

Vehicle As a Weapon (VAW)

Deliberately driving a vehicle:

  • at an individual or into crowds of people to cause harm; or
  • deliberately driving a vehicle into infrastructure to damage or disrupt its operation. This may indirectly lead to harm to people or disruption to the operation of  a site/event, or more widely, critical services or supplies.

Driving a vehicle into crowds is regarded by terrorists as attractive because it is likely to cause multiple casualties, is low complexity, affordable, requires little planning and skill and is perceived as less likely to be detected in the planning phase. 

VAW attacks are frequently the first part of a Layered Attack. The attacks frequently begin on public roads with little or no warning and are often followed by a marauding attack using bladed weapons, firearms or fire as a weapon. 

Layered Attack – Vehicle transporting attackers and / or weapons 

A layered attack is a combination of attack types.

The vehicle may:

  • facilitate the delivery of armed attackers, either covertly or overtly; or
  • be combined with a VBIED or VAW attack

There are seven exploits terrorists will use to overcome operational and/or physical security measures

What is hostile vehicle mitigation?

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) is a protective security discipline focussing on reducing risks associated with vehicle borne threats posed by terrorists and criminals. HVM is the effective delivery of measures that are informed by the threat and how it manifests itself, the multiple consequences of an attack, the vulnerability of a given location and the needs of the enterprise requiring protection. The bases of HVM are security risk assessments, security planning, and design and the deployment of risk-based measures.

Hostile vehicle mitigation measures

HVM Measures are the integrated deployment of security processes, procedures and physical obstructions to counter vehicle borne threats. They include but are not limited to; deterrent communications, security awareness, incident response planning and training, operational security ands the deployment of physical obstructions such as vehicle security barriers.

Vehicle security barrier (VSB)

A VSB is a product designed to prevent vehicle access.  It has undergone testing at an independent and accredited test house, to a recognised vehicle impact test standard and achieved a performance rating in accordance with that standard.

Vehicle barrier

Vehicle barriers are typically products designed to prevent vehicle access by compliant drivers or occupants. They cannot be relied upon to prevent hostile vehicle access.

Determining the type of vehicle-borne threat being faced

It is important to be clear about the vehicle borne threats of concern and how those might manifest themselves, including the potential exploit techniques. Having carried out a security risk assessment, security professionals should produce HVM Operational Requirements. The Operational Requirements process will help draw out many of the key points to consider and how to prioritise the mitigation measures.

Integrated Security

This publication provides information and stimulus to those responsible for integrating protective security measures into the public realm.

Operational requirement

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 detailed review of vulnerabilities and opportunities in the environment, operational and physical security measures.
  • 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.

HVM Operational Requirements Level 2 (word)

CPNI recommends a full range of potential threat vehicles and attack methodologies (including a range of impact speeds) are considered when developing HVM Operational Requirements

Vehicle Security Barrier Scoping Document (word)

This scoping document can be used by customers seeking proposals from potential Vehicle Security Barrier (VSB) suppliers

Procuring the Services of a Specialist Security Consultant

Guidance on aspects of sourcing, procuring, tasking and retaining specialist security consultants

 

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

Standards, testing and products

What vehicle impact test standards should I be using?

CPNI recommend that a barrier deployed for the purposes of countering terrorism to protect assets against vehicle-borne threats should be a ‘Rated Vehicle Security Barrier’ that has undergone formal vehicle impact testing. The testing should:

  • be conducted to a recognised vehicle impact test standard
  • be performed at an independent test house
  • achieve a performance rating in accordance with the chosen standard

The Hostile Vehicle Mitigation team have also developed an additional standard for testing barriers and a new chapter in the Catalogue of Security Equipment (CSE)

Impact Testing of Vehicle Security Barriers

Guidance for security professionals and specifiers of Vehicle Security Barriers (VSBs), to provide clarity and answer recurring queries that circulate across the industry

Vehicle Security Barrier and Road Safety Barriers

Document highlights the main differences between vehicle security barriers and road safety barriers

Factors Influencing Concrete Curing During Vehicle Security Barrier Installation

When installing VSBs with concrete foundations, in addition to considering the specification of the concrete, the curing environment must also be considered.

 

Testing soil conditions for vehicle security barriers tests - Summary

Summary guidance note provides advice and considerations on determining the soil conditions when testing VSBs installed in soil

Testing soil conditions for vehicle security barriers tests - Full report

Full report on advice and considerations on determining the soil conditions when testing VSBs installed in soil

 

 

Design

A HVM scheme needs to be designed before it is installed.  Implementing the Operational Requirements into a scheme design will increase the likelihood of it mitigating the vehicle threat and it being incorporated into the site or event’s normal operations.  

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of individual products and schemes is vital before they are procured.  This includes ensuring they are installed correctly, to maximise the vehicle resistance, and making them intuitive to operate; this will make them safer and more secure.

Due diligence in the selection and procurement of vehicle security barriers

Provides clarity and answers to recurring queries that circulate across the industry. 

Guidance note on vehicle security barrier foundations

Document highlights to security managers and specifiers the design terminology and considerations when installing Vehicle Security Barriers (VSBs)

Active Vehicle Security Barriers - Control Panel Design

Document focuses on the design aspects of VSB controls; it does NOT include guidance on management or training.

 

Build

Once a scheme design has been completed it is important to ensure it is built as per instruction.  This will maximise the vehicle resistance.  A poor build phase may create vulnerabilities in the scheme that cannot easily be detected afterwards.  Due care and attention must be given during installations to ensure products are not installed incorrectly.

Retractable vehicle security barriers - Maintaining road surface friction

The design of a Vehicle Access Control Point (VACP) should be based on the Operational Requirements (OR) provided by the site owner or operator.

Factors Influencing Concrete Curing During Vehicle Security Barrier Installation

When installing VSBs with concrete foundations, in addition to considering the specification of the concrete, the curing environment must also be considered.

 

 

Operate

When the scheme is up and running it is important to keep it well maintained. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to products breaking down.  This will likely impact the operability of the site or event and may create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a hostile vehicle or make the product dangerous.  Regular servicing will flag issues before they turn into serious problems.

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 HVM, 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.

Integrated Security

This publication provides information and stimulus to those responsible for integrating protective security measures into the public realm.

NaCTSO – Crowded places guidance

These documents provide advice on increasing the protection of crowded places from a terrorist attack.

DfT-TAL 2/13: Bollards and pedestrian movement

How bollard schemes affect pedestrians, and planning advice to help with installing bollards to reduce vehicle threats.

 

DfT TAL 1/11 Vehicle security barriers within the streetscape

Reasons for and information on how to use vehicle security barriers (VSB) within a streetscape.

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

Additional guidance on using bollards as a vehicle security barrier.

Mitigating the risk to high streets

The risk to pedestrians from Vehicle As a Weapon (VAW) attack remains a real possibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing measures will require authorities and businesses to guide customers in and around commercial premises and publicly accessible locations e.g. high streets. In order to minimise the risks to people, organisations and authorities can take practical steps to reduce the risk.

Protective security considerations for high street hospitality

Guidance intended for Authorities who are considering temporarily increasing or expanding pedestrianised spaces to assist businesses with COVID-19 social distancing measures and the revitalisation of high streets.

Guidance on protecting queues

Advice note outlines the VAW threat and provides guiding and technical principles on how to reduce the risk to queuing people.

 

 

Vulnerability of rising arm and swing arm barriers

Some rising arm and swing arm Vehicle Security Barriers (VSBs) are vulnerable to impact from smaller cars even though they may be able to stop a larger vehicles travelling at speed.

CPNI recommends that rising & swing arm VSBs deployed to protect assets against vehicle borne threats should be tested and rated to the following standards and include an M1 classification vehicle i.e. passenger car:

In recent years, vehicle borne threats have evolved to include Vehicle as a Weapon (VAW) attacks, with perpetrators using a wide range of vehicles from passenger cars up to lorries. A number of security related incidents and terrorist attacks have involved or used hatchback and saloon cars to target people or attempt to breach perimeters. Their use remains a realistic possibility.

Consequently, following a programme of research and full scale vehicle impact testing, CPNI recommends a full range of potential threat vehicles and attack methodologies (including a range of impact speeds) are considered when developing HVM Operational Requirements. Assurance should be sought during the tender procurement process that the proposed VSB attained the necessary vehicle impact performance rating/s against your identified vehicle borne threats.  

For rising arm and swing arm VSBs already in place, discuss your requirements with the original equipment manufacturer. HVM specialist members of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists will also be able advise you of specific design features that may need addressing. 

Engineered design modifications to barriers should not be implemented without first validating the performance through vehicle impact testing as detailed above.

Additional advice may be sought from:

Due diligence in the selection and procurement of vehicle security barriers

Assurance should be sought during the tender procurement process that the proposed VSB attained the necessary vehicle impact performance rating/s against your identified vehicle borne threats.

HVM Operational Requirements Level 2 (word)

CPNI recommends a full range of potential threat vehicles and attack methodologies (including a range of impact speeds) are considered when developing HVM Operational Requirements

 

 

 

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