Updated Crash Barrier Report – Crash Barriers or Concrete Bollards?

Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion as to the usefulness or otherwise of ‘Bollards’, the description given to the large concrete blocks placed strategically around landmark locations and transport hubs in Australia’s Capital Cities. In the media, on Facebook and in the street, people all have an opinion.

At AML Risk Management, our interest is in providing the best options to safeguard the public from potential harm. This harm so far has specifically come from people who have demonstrated mental health issues. The key requirement, in terms of public space is stop persons using vehicles in a reckless and dangerous manner. It is not about a ‘policy decision’. It is about safety measures and safeguards for the public when exposed in vulnerable positions.

Here is a further report on the highest level vehicle mitigation barriers now available through AML Risk Management from the Meridian Group.

Archer Drop & Stop Vehicle Barriers Top US and European Crash Test Standards

Archer 1200 Receives PAS 68 Certification Becoming the Only Portable Barrier to Meet Anti-Terrorism Specifications

Pasadena, CA (July 6, 2017) – Meridian Rapid Defence Group (MRDG) announced that the Archer 1200 vehicle mitigation barrier has just received a passing certification on the European Publicly Available Specifications security standard known as the PAS 68. The barriers successfully stopped a 1500 kg vehicle travelling 48 kph becoming the only portable barrier to do so.

The Archer 1200 barriers already meet U.S. Department of Defence and Department of Homeland Security guidelines and have demonstrated the ability to stop a malicious vehicle in fewer than 10 feet. The products have Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) certification and have been independently tested by engineering consultants at KPFF and Karco.

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“Adding the European testing standard to the resume for the Archer 1200 is an important step for us in providing a rapid response security solution to countries in need,” said MRDG Founder and CEO Peter Whitford. “The U.S. has been very proactive in adding portable vehicle mitigation to sports venues, city centres and government buildings. We know that credentials that match their specifications will allow us to show their superiority over current marketplace options.”

Archer 1200 Barriers are portable, modular and require no electricity, hydraulics or maintenance. They are non-lethal and completely reusable after impact. With a HaulsAllTM jack, they are single-person deployable and easily moved to allow emergency vehicle access or to react to a changing developing need.

“When an attack happens, one of the first things to go in the area is power,” adds Mr. Whitford. “First responders can’t be held at bay with failed security systems. Speed is always the most critical element.”

Archer 1200 Barriers were recently employed in the city centre of New Orleans for the Mardi Gras parade. Painted a festive canary yellow, the barriers allowed free pedestrian flow through the streets while providing a solid perimeter to unwanted vehicles. The barriers are made of ballistic-rated steel for armour piercing NATO rounds up to .50 cal. ball rounds. This feature was required for deployment in Los Angeles for the 55th GRAMMY Awards as law enforcement was on heightened alert during the manhunt for rogue police officer Christopher Dorner.

MRDG products are also deployed at U.S. military installations including Fort Wainwright, Alaska and Kandahar Air Force Base; the ports of Long Beach and San Diego, Shell Motiva Oil & Gas Refinery and with the California Water Board.

AML Risk Management use Meridian Rapid Defence Group equipment.

MRDG is headquartered in Pasadena, CA and operates in the U.S., Europe, Asia and now Australia as perimeter security specialists. MRDG develops anti-vehicle barrier systems that are engineered for speed of deployment. The flexibility of the system allows tactical or military forces to quickly secure politically, economically or environmentally important sites for short and long durations. Their product line is focused on anchored and unanchored portable vehicle mitigation barriers as well as the supporting elements that ensure a fast and effective deployment.

These units are designed and purpose built. They are portable and reusable. And in our opinion at AML Risk Management they represent common sense.

Provide protection, prevention and preparation. The solutions are already available.

 

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Bollards, Barriers or Both?

Currently the Federal and State Governments, along with appropriate City Councils (such as Melbourne and Sydney City Councils) have installed strategically, a series of large concrete bollards throughout each city. As well these same bollards have been installed near vulnerable infrastructure such as Sporting Arenas and Transport Hubs.

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It would appear that the main purpose of the bollards is to present a deterrent to any person attempting to drive through designated Pedestrian precincts. It has also been noted that these bollards, temporary as they are, can be moved up to 40m when impacted by a vehicle, as reported in the Herald Sun and The Age newspapers

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AML Risk Management understands that the authorities are preparing permanent vehicle impediments for such vulnerable positions. An associate of ours managed the outdoor displays featured in the Bourke St Mall for over 8 years. It is without question a sensible strategy. During that period there were 8 metre by 20 meter display units placed at the head of the Mall on Swanston St and Elisabeth St. Similarly there were large potted trees and floral units strategically placed. These units would have certainly restricted the driver who ploughed through the mall, but because of the nature of the mall and its functionality it would not have completely stopped him.

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The tram tracks and its vehicles cause the open central section to remain unprotected so once a vehicle gains access it can still be a menace with low levels of control available. Trucks still do morning deliveries and require access at this stage to the mall.

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AML Risk Management can now offer a solution for major gatherings and vulnerable infrastructure. A full range of effective tested and proven barriers is now available from our supplier; Meridian Rapid Defence Group. The units have been deployed successfully both in similar situations in US cities as well as in areas of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

For your interest we provide you the link on the Meridian Barrier Kits here. As you can see these units are far better designed with impact ratings, inbuilt portability and a proven track record of protection at the highest levels of alert.

AML is positioned now to deploy these units at short notice where required. The question is not ‘will such an attack happen?’, it’s ‘when will it happen?’. Sadly the proponents of ISIS have already indicated that Australia is a target. From our position at AML, it is better to be prepared, protected and aware. Your personal security is our business and our concern.

 

The Cost of Terrorism

Economic impact of terrorism related incidents

According to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, the cost of terrorism to the world was $52.9 billion in 2014, the highest value since 2001, and a tenfold increase on the same value in 2000.

The cost has been proportionately higher in certain economies as the following examples indicate:

  • In Nigeria, terrorism has caused foreign direct investment to drop by $6.1 billion or 30%
  • Since 2005, terrorism has cost Iraq over $159 billion, or 32% of GDP
  • The total economic costs of the 9/11 attacks has been estimated by the New York Times at a staggering $3.3 trillion dollars

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A detailed study on the economic impact of the terror attacks in Paris on Nov 13, 2015 found four distinct economic impacts which are applicable to terrorist attacks in any major Western city

  • The first impact is an immediate and sustained decrease in tourism which typically affects the whole country, not just the area where the incident occurred
  • The second impact is a decline in consumer spending as consumers reduce their exposure to large public spaces in the city such as shops, cafes, restaurants and major sporting events
  • The third impact in the psychological impact on consumers – the threat of terrorism has been shown to have a significant impact on consumer sentiment which results in families delaying major expenditure such as new cars, consumer electronic and holiday
  • The fourth impact is the significant costs and productivity lost through increased security measures including screening and access control to public spaces

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A study conducted by economists in the United States found that the economic effects of the publics change in behaviour are 15 times more costly that the immediate damage in the wake of an incident.  When surveyed 41% of shoppers would still avoid an area where an incident had occurred and employees would require a 45% increase in wages to return to their jobs.  The study also found that increasingly the threat of terrorism (without actual incidents occurring) also had a significant impact on the way people behaved.

In Australia, ASIO has confirmed that security operations have prevented 4 mass casualty attacks since September 2011.  Victorian police have similarly conducted numerous raids aimed at disrupting potential attacks, most recently prior to Christmas.

It is also important to consider the cost of ‘false alarms’ or false positives which occur when a full security response is activated in response to a suspicious object or activity which ultimately turns out to be innocent.

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In Melbourne these types of incidents have become increasingly common:

  • Aug 30, 2014 – Closure of the Bourke Street mall and surrounding streets following a hoax bomb threat
  • 23 January 2015 – Elizabeth Street in Melbourne’s CBD was evacuated after a bomb threat
  • Nov 17 2015 – Several streets in the Melbourne CBD were closed and buildings evacuated after a suspicious shoebox was abandoned in Collins Street near Southern cross station
  • January 10, 2015 – Closure of Terminal four at Tullamarine airport after a hoax bomb threat
  • November 20 2015- Evacuation and lockdown of Station Pier after the reporting of a suspicious package
  • January 12, 2017 – Evacuation of the Moorabbin justice complex after a bomb threat

In all of these incidents the locations were subject to lengthy lockdowns and / or evacuations.

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Determining the short term economic impact for these is at one level relatively simple – lost productivity from workers forced to evacuate or locked down and lost retail turnover both during the incident and in subsequent weeks.  Whilst this understates the true cost of these ‘false positives’ it provides ample evidence that these events are extremely costly and this cost could have been prevented if a cheaper and quicker way could have been utilised to determine the true risk.

As an example, using our modelling methodology, the 2014 closure of the Bourke Street Mall resulted in retail losses in excess of $200,000 on that day alone.  The evacuation of buildings surrounding Southern Cross station in 2015 as the result of the suspicious shoebox resulted in potential productivity losses in excess of $1 million.

Evolv – a better solution.

AML can now provide the Evolv Body scanning equipment for fast processing of large crowds. Each unit has throughput of 700 people per hour.

Watch the video here

Guidelines to protect Australians from terrorist attacks in stadiums, shopping malls and public transport hubs

NEW guidelines to protect Australians from terrorist bomb attacks in sporting stadiums, shopping malls and public transport hubs have been released.

The Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee has released the guidelines to help governments and businesses prepare for a possible improvised explosive device in places of mass gathering.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism, Michael Keenan, said the guidelines were to guard against the threat of IEDs and were not in response to any specific threat.

“We want to ensure places of mass gatherings are equipped to contribute to the collective national effort to manage any IED threat,’’ Mr Keenan told the Herald Sun.

“Sadly as we have seen overseas in recent months, crowded places, such as public transport hubs, shopping malls and entertainment precincts, can be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

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“While Australia’s threat level remains at probable – which means credible intelligence, assessed by our security agencies indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia – the incidents overseas highlight the need to be prepared.’’

Crowded places such as public transport hubs are vulnerable to attacks. Pictures: Tony Gough

According to the guidelines, violent extremists and “disgruntled individuals’’ have specifically identified mass gathering places as attractive targets both in Australia and overseas.

They warn that terrorist attacks against targets in Western countries with similar security environments to Australia typically involve the use of small portable devices, devices hidden in vehicles, or mixed-mode attacks where terrorists use explosive devices and other weapons, usually firearms.

AML Risk Management Emergency Warden

“A terrorist attack in Australia using IEDs is likely to be low cost, involve minimal training, and make use of precursors that are widely available (eg from hardware stores, chemists and agricultural supply stores) and can be bought without raising suspicion,’’ the guidelines warn.

“An IED target is often chosen for its high symbolic or economic value, its potential to generate casualties and public anxiety, or its ability to gain media attention.”

The guidelines give details of how buildings can be made more resilient to IED attack, including by creating “stand-off’’ space to stop vehicles getting too close to buildings.

“Strategically placed objects such as spheres, planter boxes, seats or bollards on the pavement at entrances to (places of mass gathering) can provide extra protection from unauthorised vehicle intrusion as well as increasing stand-off distance,’’ the guidelines say.

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They further give advice on how to identify suspicious behaviour but warn it is not an exact science and nervous behaviour might be “typical for other settings, such as attending a job interview”.

“Consider these behavioural signals: continuous scanning of an area, unusual perspiration, heavy breathing, fidgeting, rubbing hands, pacing, clock watching, exaggerated yawning, avoiding security/uniformed officers,’’ it suggests.

The guidelines follow similar documents on terrorism in public places and active shooter guidelines.

Source: Herald Sun