Emerging Issues in Security

One Lesson from Manchester: Expand the Security Perimeter

The difference in the security in place at the Manchester Arena bombing compared to the “One Love Manchester,” benefit concert for victims of the Manchester attack at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground points out the importance of expanding the perimeter of security beyond the venue. Coverage is needed where large numbers of people gather, surrounding streets, and at public transportation stops.

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The terror attack at the end of the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in England shows the bomber did not gain entry into the concert. The security and screening processes at many arenas and stadiums is being elevated to prevent the likelihood of an attack inside. The lesson learned from Manchester Stadium is the weakness in security goes beyond the venue. It’s at entry and exits and other areas where crowds gather forming choke points.

Constant reevaluation of security is needed to stay ahead of threats and respond appropriately. Terrorists are using tactics and capabilities that go beyond the immediate perimeter of an event.

In response to the arena bombing and after the attacks in London the day before the concert, The Greater Manchester Police Department increased security measures at the “One Love Manchester,” benefit, including bag checks and police and canine units placed on surrounding grounds, streets, and at public transportation stops. Nearby roads were closed to cars and large gray police vans lined the streets.

Expanded perimeter security is also easily accomplished with modern, technological solutions that allow for better protection of wide areas with less manpower. Advanced perimeter security is currently being widely deployed within critical infrastructure facilities in the energy, mining, and chemical industries as a first line of defense. Airports and seaports, transportation hubs, and cities and urban areas are utilizing the technology in today’s perimeter protection systems to get extended long-range detection around the clock.

Solutions to safeguard perimeters are integrated on the network and provide better quality images and improved performance, including visual license plate capture, day and night vision, advanced video management, and analytics. Products include thermal and IP cameras, fence sensors and cables, biometrics like facial recognition, electronic access control, video intercoms, and audio communication.

Analytics can immediately detect intrusion or movement and automatically trigger an alarm to alert a monitoring center for appropriate processing, action, and response. A vital part of any perimeter detection strategy is the use of a central monitoring center equipped with well-trained operators and law enforcement. Smartphones and tablets become added security devices used for immediate remote viewing.

The NERC CIP-014 Guidelines and Technical Basis document is often used as a reference for critical infrastructure facilities in the energy market. The recommendations serve well as a basic guide in developing an integrated security plan that addresses both cybersecurity and physical security. A high-level threat and vulnerability analysis uncovers potential threats and weaknesses.

NERC CIP-014 Standard requirements include:

  • Perform an overall initial risk assessment.
  • Have an independent third party review initial risk assessment.
  • Perform threat and vulnerability assessment related to each identified critical location.
  • Develop and implement a physical security plan to protect those identified assets.
  • Have the final threat and vulnerability assessment and physical security plan verified by an independent third party.

Expanding the perimeter means more security measures are in place to thwart intruders well in advance of them reaching their planned target.