Perimeter security is a crucial aspect of protecting any property or asset, yet it can be the one area that gets left behind.
It’s easily overlooked for many organisations, particularly if the perimeter is out of your control. Yet history shows us both the benefits of looking beyond the immediate vicinity when it comes to defending your territory, as well as the folly of ignoring it.
Looking to history
Any well-designed, and properly utilised, castle or fort, is an excellent example of how the defence of your key assets should start well before the enemy reaches your front door.
Of course, the protection of any territory or fortified area is highly dependent on the tactical nous of those defending it. Assuming that all goes well, the defence of a castle is littered with examples that still apply today.
Firstly, the castle was not the first line of defence – in fact, nor was the castle walls or perimeter defence. Knowledge of your enemy’s attack in the first place and where/when it was likely to come was key to any battle.
Defences would often be placed on a hill to give the defending forces a height advantage and excellent field of view. Knowing where your enemy may attack, and indeed knowing the attack is coming in the first place, is key to mounting a successful defence – comparable to an advanced surveillance system today.
Castle defences were layered and multi-faceted – they were designed to weaken and grind down the enemy as they approached and protect against different types of threats.
A moat, or other similar obstacle, might look ornate, but it effectively forces the attacking forces into a predefined, narrow approach to the castle, such as over a bridge. This has the simultaneous effect of slowing the enemy down, but also allows the defending forces to concentrate their resources and fire on a few large targets rather than spreading their resources thinly where individuals could be picked off.
In many ways, we can adopt a similar approach today – for instance, simple measures such as incorporating bends and chicanes into the surrounding road system forces vehicles to slow down and prevent direct access to your asset.
I could go on about this, but the point is to make your enemies’ approach as difficult as possible, and this includes perimeter security. This may put them off in the first place, but at the very least you’ll have multiple measures in place.
Perimeter fencing – part of the security ‘onion’
The installation of perimeter fencing does not in itself provide 100% protection against the wilful attack by individuals, however it is one layer of the security onion that potentially has the greatest effect at mitigating the risk.
The objectives of any perimeter design can be one of compromise. To achieve the level of protection and maintain a positive working environment many requirements need to be considered:
- Disruption and cost caused by the loss or theft of vital equipment.
- Project a positive image
- Thoughtful social obligation delivered by subtle design and attractive appearance
- This can only be achieved by specifying the highest standards of installation and product quality. This will guarantee that the long-term solutions will be realised
With these points forming the requirements set, an organisation can develop a security strategy that is tailored to the sites unique circumstances.
Your security strategy should be a bespoke one and one that is determined by a detailed assessment. However, there are a broad set of fence categories that should help you structure your security strategy.
Demarcation of boundary specifies the land is not public space and therefore defines the land and property to be protected. For use in low risk areas, demarcation fences are usually lower in height than standard security barriers, maintain excellent through visibility so there is limited impact on the environment. These types of fences are primarily used to stop people taking unrecognised routes (desire lines) by guiding foot and vehicular traffic in the right direction.
This broad-reaching category of fence makes a strong visual statement that access is intended for authorised personnel and only at designated entry/exit points. It provides increased security by marking the boundary with a clear physical barrier and can be upgraded to enhance safety if required. The height of the fence would range between 2m-2.4m. Good visibility should be maintained to facilitate the use of CCTV.
Fences in this category will provide safety to the organisation’s assets, people or property by providing a significant physical barrier against terrorism and extreme continuous physical attack.
The design should be robust enough to support perimeter intrusion detection systems and should form the basis of a hardened security boundary. In this environment it is typical to provide an inner and outer fencing line with an internal “no man’s land” that is monitored by the Perimeter Intrusion Detection systems, CCTV and microwave detections.
When purchasing perimeter security, the following should be considered:
- Is a sufficient level of security provided? The level should reflect the need to mitigate the possible risk – not excessive or deficient.
- Are other aspects, such as access control or hardening, relevant?
- Is the product of sufficient quality? Manufacturing quality varies widely, particularly corrosion protection.
- Has the product undergone accelerated lifetime testing? Most fencing should be covered with a minimum 20 years’ guarantee.
- Does the tendered price reflect the assumed risk?
- If the perceived risk is “imminent” will the installation be achievable in the required timeframe?
- Are the materials and installation guaranteed?
- Will the installation be independently checked to support the guarantee?
These are just some basic areas to consider, but it’s crucial you take a bespoke approach to the security of your premises, staff, and assets. This is only really possible if you get a professional in to do the proper assessments – a security consultant can then work with you to create an integrated security solution that is right for your business.