Facing up to threats to physical security

Posted: April 16th, 2015

Creating a safe, secure environment for passengers and staff is paramount for any airport operator. But it’s vital that the vulnerability of cargo areas is also taken into account, with thieves, saboteurs or terrorists attracted to high value goods and sensitive materials, including medical supplies, radioactive substances and dangerous chemicals, which would form the ingredients of a terrorist weapon, or prove harmful to anyone exposed to them.

Standard security measures – CCTV, alarms, personnel, access control – all play their part in protecting high-risk areas. But in many instances, it’s the prime physical barrier surrounding valuable or hazardous goods, which will be put to the test.

Traditional building methods may not offer the level of protection needed to safeguard high-risk areas. Standard brick or block walls can be vulnerable to attack by a sledgehammer or similar tool. Similarly, traditional partitioning methods to form enclosures using materials such as plywood, plasterboard and insulation held within in a timber frame, may not offer enough protection against determined criminals

For absolute reassurance, any physical security measures – such as wall panels and doors – used to house sensitive materials or valuables in an airport should be accredited by a relevant certifying body such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board (the standard is LPS1175) or approved by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to guarantee both their quality and suitability.

At Securiclad we’ve responded to additional demand for heightened physical security in the airport sector by developing a complete and certified high security modular panel system solution achieving a number of ratings within BRE security standard LPS1175 and approved by the CPNI. The system is also pre-finished, negating the need for any wet trades and keeping any disruption to an airport site down to a minimum.

Securiclad can be used to create a secure environment or partition within an existing structure, or be incorporated into a new-build. At its highest level, it is built to withstand attack by a circular saw and a high-powered 750W reciprocating saw with specialist blades, as well as tools including drills, sledgehammers and disc grinders.

Our recent work for a major London airport highlights the Securiclad system’s benefits. Following a report by a Police Counter Terrorism Security Adviser, Securiclad was commissioned by the baggage handling and storage company operating at the airport to provide an external ‘envelope’ to enhance the overall security performance of a storage site. The adviser has stated that the facilities and method of storage for a highly sensitive product did not achieve the standard required for such material.

Wall and ceiling panels rated to LPS 1175 Security Rating 4 were used to provide the primary barrier – ensuring a high level of resistance to tools including axes, sledgehammers, disc grinders and jig saws – which enclosed a second structure.

The secure area needed to have a robust and durable finish, with the wall panels fitted to concrete slabs and the ceiling panels supported by an integral steel framework. Securiclad worked with an approved door manufacturer to provide easy access to enable day to day operations in the area to be undertaken. The finished installation also needed to be hygienic and low maintenance.

When completed, the installation formed a safe and secure environment in which to store sensitive materials, and also reduced the risks associated with exposure to them.

Certified, appropriate security solutions such as Securiclad can provide both peace of mind to airport operators, cargo handling companies and the general public – something which in the current security climate, is invaluable.

This article first appeared in Global Airports magazine, issue one – read the article here.

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