19th November 2020 - Article written by FDS Head of Strategy, Chrys Stevenson.

It has been well documented that Terrorist attacks on crowded places have become the norm for international related terrorism and domestic extremism that is perhaps fuelled by international related terrorist incidents. Sadly, we are acutely aware of the horrific examples in Paris which saw gunmen and suicide bombers indiscriminately target restaurants, bars, a football stadium, and a concert hall in a simultaneous attack, in Nice on Bastille Day and, an attack on a Berlin Christmas market.

However, whilst many lessons have been learnt, and new strategies developed, there remains several barriers hindering the adoption and investment in protective security. For whatever reason, there appears to be a reluctance for businesses and equivalent organisations to commit financial resources to quantify risk and put forward robust evidence-based business cases that justify the introduction of stronger ‘physical protection’ to further strengthen the Deter – Detect – Delay – Mitigate the consequences methodology. Without a doubt, our reliance on data and global connectivity is driving a biased focus and significant investment of many £’s billions in combating cyber-crime.

Why is it that even the smallest levels of investment in physical protection are often met with a ‘do the bear minimum’ response? Therefore, do we, as a community of customers; suppliers and partners, believe that the balance of investment in each of the above layers is sufficient to successfully future proof the mitigation of the consequences especially given our collective knowledge of the likely threat? Historical events have shown us that our adversaries are extremely innovative when it comes to causing disruption, serious injury and even death whether it be from a marauding firearms attack; an improvised explosive device; a vehicle bomb; a chemical, biological, or radiological attack; an unmanned aerial system attack or the use of a vehicle as a weapon. The recent uplift in the national threat level to ‘severe’ is a compelling enough reason to take stock of your security plans and, if they exist, your counterterrorism plans.


Are we doing enough to protect crowded places?
Are we doing enough to protect crowded places?

Perhaps a priority before we start to see people returning to sporting events; concerts; conferences; exhibitions; entertainment venues or indeed wanting to enjoy the forthcoming Christmas shopping season as well as an expected increase in domestic and international travel. Making a modest investment in conducting a vulnerability assessment would certainly equip those with Corporate or Operational responsibilities with a body of evidence upon which to quantify risk and confidently make better informed decisions on what, if any, action is necessary. There are inevitably a variety of factors causing a reluctance amongst some to adopt physical protective security measures, some examples are:

  • A mindset of ‘it won’t happen to us’
  • Organisational leadership view physical security as a ‘grudge purchase’
  • Lack of awareness of the threat and the commensurate impact
  • Lack of expertise in real estate development
  • Impact on existing buildings and infrastructure
  • Physicality of site
  • Energy expended on pushing problem elsewhere

Through positive collaboration and a commitment to understanding, managing, and mitigating terrorism, we can together make the world a safer place whilst protecting our fellow humans, protecting our businesses, and enabling people to go about their daily lives with confidence and a greater situational awareness.

Further reading

UK Government announce that policing will receive up to £15.8 billion in funding

Insights 21 December 2020

Aviation security methods and insider terrorism

Insights 03 February 2021

Coyote® Unmanned Air System (UAS)

Insights 24 June 2021