It is now a year ago this week that a group of ISIS motivated individuals drove a vehicle onto the London Bridge foot path and then into a crowded market filled with Restaurants and Cafés. The occupants leapt from a small van and proceeded to stab people including a serving London Transit Police Officer. This type of attack is known as a Hostile Vehicle Attack. In Australia there have been three similar incidents – in that a vehicle was used as a weapon. The similarity ends there. The drivers of the vehicles in all three Melbourne incidents suffered from mental health issues. Two of these incidents resulted in fatalities, one did not.
It’s chilling to think that such macabre behaviour in Europe can instigate ‘me too’ attacks thousands of miles away. Forget about the political or conflict motivation. It isn’t relevant yet here in Australia. What the Melbourne attacks indicate is that troubled individuals have determined that the simplest weapon to obtain is a vehicle.
This is not a time to be blasé. The attacks in North Carolina and another in London ploughed into demonstrations and those leaving a mosque. Others have attacked New Year and Christmas celebrations. It’s now time to ensure the safety of the public in open pedestrian areas. And to do this effectively for one-off events requires a purpose built and designed Hostile Vehicle Mitigation system.
Consider the following list of serious vehicle attacks in Europe and the type of locations and events involved.
Grosser Kiepenkerl, Münster, 7 April 2018
A grey Volkswagen minibus was driven at speed into the outdoor seating area of a popular pub in Muenster, killing two people and injuring around 20 more. The 48-year-old driver, who killed himself shortly after the attack, is not thought to have links to Islamist terror groups.
Las Ramblas, Barcelona, 17 August 2017
A hired van drove down Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district on a sunny afternoon, killing 13 people and injuring 50 more.
The van is understood to have been hired from the Telefurgo rental chain. Anybody with a driving licence can hire this sort of van – prices in Spain are around £50 to £100 per day, depending on the age of the driver.
Levallois-Perret, Paris, 9 August 2017
A BMW 2-Series Active Tourer was driven into a group of soldiers in a suburb of Paris. Six people were injured, three seriously. The driver was then stopped on the A16 motorway, being shot several times in the process.
The hired BMW was equipped with a GPS tracking system, making it easy for the police to locate.
Champs-Élysées, Paris, 19 June 2017
A Renault Megane containing explosives and weapons (an AK-47 rifle and handguns) was driven into a Gendarmerie vehicle on the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris. Only the attacker was killed in what is understood to be a ‘botched’ suicide attack.
Finsbury Park, London, 19 June 2017
A rented van was driven into a group of people outside a Mosque. The driver was heard saying “I want to kill all Muslims” and “this is for London Bridge”. One person died.
London Bridge, London, 3 June 2017
A rented van was driven into pedestrians in the London Bridge area. The three attackers then got out of the van and began stabbing people, before being shot by police. A further 8 people died and 48 people were injured, 21 critically.
Drottninggatan, Stockholm, 7 April 2017
A hijacked lorry was driven into crowds on a popular shopping street in Stockholm. Five people were killed, and 14 were seriously injured. A home-made explosive was found in the lorry after the attacker had abandoned it.
Westminster, London, 22 March 2017
A Hyundai Tucson was driven into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. The driver then got out and stabbed a policeman to death, before being shot. Five people were killed in the car attack, with 49 injured.
Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, 19 December 2016
A stolen lorry was driven into pedestrians at a Christmas market in Berlin. The attacker had shot the driver of the lorry in order to take it, and then killed 11 pedestrians. There were 56 non-fatal injuries.
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 14 July 2016
A lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day near the seafront at Nice. 87 people were killed, including the attacker, and a further 458 were injured.
The only effective form of Hostile vehicle Mitigation suitable in such situations is a portable unit capable of stopping such vehicles at up to 50km/h. Strategically placed the units can ensure the drivers do not have the opportunity to reach higher speeds.
The Meridian Archer 1200 Crash Barrier system is an easily installed and removed purpose built crash barrier. It can absorb energy and stop a 1.5 tonne vehicle travelling at 50km/h. It can be deployed by one or two persons. The units have been thoroughly safely tested in the US and Europe.
Watch the videos here and consider how effective these units are.
So if planning an outdoor event where crowds are likely to gather and congregate, consider the implications of a hostile vehicle attack.
As history tells us, both here, in Europe and in the USA, this is a real possibility.
Provide real safety, real surety for your event and its participants.
Call now on 03 9326 2244 and book a time for a free no-obligation consultation with AML Risk Management’s Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Coordinator M/s Emerald Forrest.
Be Safe, Be Sure. Plan effectively. Prevent vehicle intrusion and protect your event and its participants.
AML Risk Management – the leaders in Hostile Vehicle Mitigation strategy in Australia.
Plan, Prevent and Protect with AML.