An event organiser’s guide to

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation

The increasing frequency of terror attacks in the UK and Europe has given prominence to two chilling themes – attacks on crowds using speeding vehicles and the targeting of public events. When vehicle borne attacks have been mounted on crowded public events, such as the Bastille Day gathering in Nice and the Berlin Christmas Markets in Germany – the results have been felt around the world.

In the UK, the combination of the vehicle attack on Westminster Bridge and the bombing at Manchester Arena have led to the general public becoming increasingly hesitant about attending events that they would never have thought twice about going to previously.

Event organisers can counteract this by setting in place security measures that keep individuals safe – and keep crowds safe. The former is achieved by the provision of well-trained security staff. The latter is achieved by installing temporary engineered barriers to reinforce the event perimeter and prevent vehicle attack.

To help event organisers to meet this new and evolving challenge, we have pulled together a guide to providing Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) for events that takes you through planning, evaluation and specification stages.

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation in a nutshell for event organisers

In the case of events, HVM is a system of permanent or deployable perimeter security products strategically designed to stop speeding vehicles from harming crowds of people or property at the event in question.

The term is heavily associated with counter-terror prevention, crowd protection and the aim of keeping pedestrians and vehicles separate.

The idea of HVM systems is to close physical space and eliminate vehicle access by using engineered products to act as physical barriers that block access to restricted or pedestrianised areas.

It is becoming ever more essential to boost security at outdoor and pop-up events with temporary perimeter security solutions that fortify the perimeter.

Factoring vehicle security into event planning

When you put on an event you want it to be remembered for all the right reasons – so security should be prioritised just as highly as entertainment and promotion in the early scoping stages.

When planning to hold an event, a holistic approach to security is required. This means considering ticketing access, crowd management and venue security.

Therefore, if you are planning an outdoor special event such as a music concert, food festival or village fete – it is essential to conduct an initial assessment that considers all foreseeable threats before deciding on the venue.

In this new era of vehicle terrorism – perimeter security needs to be considered in order to protect the crowds that gather at your event.

As such, your initial assessment should include an analysis of the entire event perimeter in order that you can determine how well protected it is from speeding vehicles.


How to evaluate vehicle security risks

When it comes to mitigating vehicle risks, you need to remove all preconceptions, think differently and fully understand that anybody driving a vehicle with plans to cause mass harm – will have total disregard for normal driving conventions.

Traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, gates, fences or even one-way street signs – should not be considered as deterrents in your assessment.

Likewise you should never let soft, natural features such as hedges, fields, mud tracks and hay bales play any kind of role in your hostile vehicle mitigation strategy if you are hosting an open air event in a rural location.

When evaluating vehicle security risks, it is considered good practice to select a venue that contains strong natural or environmental barriers that act as genuine barriers or deterrents.

This could be anything from existing built defences such as buildings, reinforced bus shelters or bollards – to existing natural defences such as ditches, boulders, trees and even bodies of water.

Starting with a naturally strong event perimeter will make your security planning considerably easier. However a failure to do this upfront could cost you time and money retrospectively installing temporary security items to strengthen a naturally weak perimeter.