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News

Collaborative Approach Required For Perimeter Protection To Deter Terrorism

Pickersgill-Kaye : 23 August, 2010  (Technical Article)
The Protection of critical national infrastructure sites in the UK requires a more collaborative approach towards perimeter security to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of such sites, according to high security lock manufacturer, Pickersgill-Kaye
Collaborative Approach Required For Perimeter Protection To Deter Terrorism
Over the last decade in the UK, restricting unauthorised access to secure locations has become a significantly more complex and essential challenge for all major industries.

Mirroring the growth in the custodial sector, keeping miscreants out has also become as big a business as keeping them locked in and reducing the vulnerability of key national infrastructure sites to potential terrorist attack has been a priority. But this is only part of the problem, organised criminal activities, casual vandalism or politically-inspired direct action are also on the increase and providers of security equipment need to consider a comprehensive defence against the growing frequency and ferocity of both domestic and international threats.

Breaches of security are problematic - and can be devastating -and large critical national infrastructure (CNI) sites, such as chemical plants, power plants, gas terminals, oil refineries, utility companies, airports, military bases and other major areas which need controlled access, are particularly vulnerable to both targeted and casual attack.

Perimeter fencing is the first line of protection against these hostile acts and, as a result, is now a growing sector in the UK security market. However, because of the wide area perimeter fencing normally covers, it can be a weak link in the chain of defence and there are still significant inadequacies in most perimeter fence systems.

John Moore, business development manager of Leeds-based Pickersgill-Kaye thinks that a more collaborative approach to the installation of perimeter security systems is needed. CNI sites not only need reliable individual components but need fence, gate, lock and systems manufacturers to work together to develop a coordinated solution.

Mr Moore believes that the lock is at the heart of an integrated perimeter security system. 'Our experience in the architectural and railway industries and, more recently, in the high security custodial sector has enabled us to design a more robust gate lock than any other available which challenges the other security features to match up,' he claims.

Several major CNI operators agree with this claim and are already specifying the Pickersgill-Kaye locks. One of the UK's largest energy providers has recently installed its slide bar and claw gate locks in perimeter fencing at an Above Ground Gas Intake (AGI) site in Nottinghamshire.

Chris Laughton, company director of Crime and Fire Defence Systems Ltd, who manufactured and installed the gates at this critical site, said incorporating robust and interactive security measures within perimeter fencing was vital to deter or combat potentially destructive acts.

He said: 'To offer critical infrastructure the best protection, security systems need to be robust and able to run seamlessly. The energy company's security consultant specified Pickersgill-Kaye's locks because they are used by government and are extremely resistant to attack. We then manufactured the gates so that they would accept the locks.'

A robust and reliable gate lock is the cornerstone of effective perimeter protection and secure access. However, sourcing high security products has previously been a challenge and adapting them to operations at specific sites has been expensive and damaging to the integrity of the overall security system.

Whilst maintaining high quality and effective protection for CNI sites against the ongoing threat of attack, perimeter security must also be flexible enough to allow the legitimate and effective flow of people and assets - such as during the emergency evacuation of personnel which is why Pickersgill-Kaye's slide bar and claw gate locks can be interfaced with most existing access control systems and security devices to enable the easy evacuation of personnel, without compromising external security.

Perimeter fencing has become more sophisticated and is no longer viewed in isolation when considering protection for key sites. Integrated security applications might be effective in thwarting intrusions, theft and deliberate sabotage to the nation's infrastructure, but the systems used must also suit the conditions prevailing at the site and offer the most robust and reliable solutions to ensure long life.

The UK market for access control equipment and systems is worth around a billion pounds per year and growing. Increased efforts to protect CNI have led to increased budgets, as it is recognised that long term reliability gives greater value than short term cost savings, and companies providing high quality, less cost sensitive equipment will be those that benefit from this investment.
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