I gave a short talk at the UK Security Expo (UKSec) late last year as a part of the building and facilities management conference there. My basic premise was that site operators need to weigh many factors in order to determine the appropriate and proportionate physical, electronic and human building access and security measures to put in place.
First are the threats posed to their building or facility; second, the chances of those being realised; third, if they are, the costs to the organisation or enterprise, both monetary and potential downtime, diversion of focus and reputational damage. And, of course, what investment they are prepared to make in mitigating against those threats and risks.
I still believe the old ‘onion-skin’ principle to security can’t be beaten – with successive layers of deterrent and defence for an intruder to overcome at a deeper and more robust level the nearer they get to the most critical and sensitive assets.
The Crown Jewels are a perfect example of this. They are displayed behind bomb-proof glass under the watchful eye of armed guards and more than 100 hidden CCTV cameras. The Jewel House itself is a vault within a former barracks at the Tower of London, protected by the 22-strong Tower Guard force, on detachment from the British Army, and the 38 resident Yeomen Warders, or Beefeaters, who are ex-military too.
And heaven only knows how many fences, gates, barriers, blockers, cameras and other high-tech wizardry are employed around the perimeter of the tower.
But, few public sector buildings have the equivalent of the Crown Jewels to protect – or the budgets that the security costs!
It’s tempting in this fearful age of apparently random acts of terrorism and lone wolf attacks to ‘throw the kitchen sink’ at security.
The current specification for Crossrail stations is a ‘five-minute fence’, so we have created our CorruSec SR3 as a viable product to meet this need.
We also have CorruSec Premier SR4 fencing, which will resist a penetration attack for more than 10 minutes. In theory, we could go on adding more and more layers of mesh to gain higher and higher ratings.
But, another conversation at UKSec broached a potentially more appropriate and proportionate approach of adding PIDs to a simpler perimeter security fence.
Use electronics on a physical barrier that both deters and defends and muster a human response to any genuine threat. This, I believe, is where specifiers must go in the future. Buying time against the threats is the key goal.
Successive onion-skin layers of protection – integrating physical, electronic and human security measures – is the way to protect our public sector buildings. And, we need to think outside the box, literally. With radar-detecting threats up to hundreds of metres away, this now sees us looking beyond the perimeter, at the perimeter and within the perimeter!