Premier League considers new anti-terror barriers


A number of Premier League clubs will meet this week to discuss whether to introduce a "revolutionary" new anti-terror barrier at their grounds.

Burnley and Manchester United are already using the portable barriers, which security experts have described as a "leap forward" in protection against vehicle-borne attacks.

The system is designed by a UK company, after the Government challenged the security sector to come up with a barrier concept which could be easily deployed and quickly dismantled.

Sky News was granted exclusive access to Burnley's Turf Moor stadium to see the new Surface Guard system in action.

A team of around a dozen security contractors were able to erect two barriers on the main access road to the stadium within half an hour.

The barrier sections are linked together, spanning the width of the roadway.

They are designed to give pedestrians easy access through them, but reinforced metal rods stop any hostile vehicle trying to penetrate the barriers.

Across the private security sector, a number of companies are looking to develop their own, more easily deployable barrier systems.

Image:The barriers give pedestrians easy access but reinforced metal rods stop vehicles

Sky News spoke to half a dozen UK-based security firms.

All said that there was currently unprecedented demand for their security products, following the recent spate of vehicle attacks in Europe and North America.

Burnley FC said its fans had reacted positively to the introduction of the Surface Guard barrier system.

Doug Metcalfe, operations manager at Burnley, said: "We, as a nation, are in a different situation. The terrorist threat is real and is probably here to stay for some time.

"It's important for us to do the right thing.

"We have a duty of care for our supporters and doing the right thing means enhancing the protection we offer with barrier systems like this one.

"When our supporters arrive here they can enjoy the game safe in the knowledge that they are better protected."

Burnley and Manchester United have already begun using portable barriers, which security experts have described as a
Image:The barrier can be erected in less than an hour and dismantled quickly

Unlike more cumbersome semi-permanent concrete and metal barriers, which have been deployed around a number of London landmarks, the Surface Guard system is only deployed when needed.

Gavin Hepburn, from the barrier's designers ATG Access, said: "The changing method of terrorist attacks means you need to protect places, but the most important thing of all, you've got to protect the people.

"I think this system makes it accessible to anyone, even those planning a relatively small event can still have mitigation against a vehicle attack.

"It can be erected in less than an hour and dismantled just as quickly."

Security consultant Chris Philips said the development of this more portable system was "revolutionary and a leap forward in barrier protection, compared to the current barriers which are ugly and unmanageable".

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He added: "You can't deploy them easily, so when those massive concrete and metal blocks are assembled, they're often left there for years."

Chelsea is among the latest group of Premier League clubs reported to be considering deploying the new barriers.

Original Article