At AML we believe there is a very strong argument to also deploy crash barriers at major events and pedestrian only locations such as shopping malls and transport hubs. The current bollards placed by the city of Melbourne and the city of Sydney are deemed deterrents and do offer some degree of safety. Please refer to our previous blogs on crash barriers for further information…
- Crash Barriers Save Lives
- Updated Crash Barrier Report – Crash Barriers or Concrete Bollards?
- Bollards, Barriers or Both?
- Streets of the future: Anti-terror bollards rolled out in Australian cities
Melbourne’s anti-terror bollards ‘may not stop attack’
Security and counter-terrorism experts have warned that hundreds of cement blocks placed across Melbourne could be all but useless in a terrorist attack, calling for more effective measures to be implemented urgently.
As Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday attacked criticism of the temporary bollards, questions emerged about the placement of the blocks and whether they could stop a terrorist intent on mowing people down by using a car or truck.
Bollards and barriers have been placed in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide following last year’s attack in Nice and the January incident on Bourke Street in Melbourne, with most city councils installing temporary barriers while investigating more attractive permanent measures such as reinforced planter boxes.
Melbourne City Council has arranged 206 blocks in the past month at sites including Federation Square, Bourke Street Mall, Southern Cross Station and Southbank, but in some places a car could still hit pedestrian areas.
Counter-terrorism lecturer and former Australian Federal Police officer Mark Briskey said replacing the blocks needed to be a top priority as it was a “reasonable assumption” that Australia would see more vehicular attacks.
“If people don’t move on with their security from this and look at best practice and how other people have done it, whether it’s in London or Israel, there are going to be big problems,” he said. “(The blocks) certainly offer some sort of psychological salve to people, but that’s not to say people can’t get around these things.”
Mr Andrews yesterday rejected questions about the placement as “irresponsible and wrong”, saying the blocks were “exactly where they need” to be, based on advice from Victoria Police.
A city council spokeswoman confirmed the arrangement of bollards had been finalised and endorsed by Victoria Police. She said several factors were considered, including the need for emergency vehicles to access the areas, at low speed.
Bollards at access points to Adelaide’s Rundle Mall are retractable, with emergency vehicles able to access the mall through PIN codes and swipe cards.
Australian National University counter-terrorism professor Clive Williams said the effectiveness of cement-block barrier systems depended on their weight, spacing, and whether they were anchored. “The attractiveness … is they can be put in place cheaply and used for a temporary purpose, such as to protect a mass gathering or parade,” he said.
“They are a good deterrent … because they look formidable.”
Another security expert, who asked not to be identified, was concerned the blocks would not stop a vehicle and called for their urgent replacement.
Twenty concrete barriers were placed this month at Sydney’s Martin Place near the site of the Lindt cafe siege in 2014.
A city spokeswoman said the NSW Police Counter Terrorism Command had recommended the barricades, which would be replaced with permanent measures.