Protecting pedestrian queues from Vehicle As a Weapon Attack

Protecting pedestrian queues from Vehicle As a Weapon Attack

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) shares the below information for public safety and is urging those who can, to help support anti terrorism.

The risk to pedestrians from Vehicle As a Weapon (VAW) attack remains a realistic possibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing measures will require businesses to manage customers flows and numbers going into premises. As such it is likely that customers will form or be asked to form orderly queues to enter premises.

Vehicle-borne threats range from vandalism to sophisticated or aggressive attack by determined criminals or terrorists.

Click here to access a guide to help protect yourself and others from harm of VAW.

Vehicles (such as cars, vans and lorries) are widely available, easy to acquire and use. Vehicles may be purchased, rented, stolen or hijacked by terrorists. Consequently, driving a vehicle into crowds of people has been and remains an attack method used by terrorists.

During a VAW attack, the terrorist is unlikely to comply with the rules of the road. Terrorists may park illegally just before the attack then speed, ignore traffic signals, drive on the wrong side of the road, mount footways and enter pedestrianised zones.

However, as the intent is to harm as many people as possible during a VAW attack, they are less likely to drive in a manner that risks ending the attack prematurely: rendering the vehicle unusable or seriously injuring themselves. Consequently, the terrorist may tend to avoid obstacles, including relatively insubstantial ones.

In general, VAW attacks have been the first part of a layered attack. The attacks frequently begin on public roads with little or no warning and are often followed by a wider firearms or bladed weapon attack.

The end of a VAW attack may look similar to a road traffic incident: the vehicle losing control and crashing into barriers, buildings, street furniture or other vehicles. Individuals may approach the vehicle to help the occupants, inadvertently becoming targets for a follow-on bladed weapon or firearms attacks.

In order to minimise the risk to queues of people, organisations can take practical and achievable measures to either deter or disrupt a Vehicle As a Weapon Attack.

The range of options highlighted in this guide provide varying levels of protection and residual risk.

Further advice can be sought from local Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisers (CTSAs).

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