The City of Rostock Installs Security Bollards with Flat Foundations
Urban Security Concepts
In December 2018 when the Christmas season began and the Christmas markets in Germany had recently opened, the terrorist attacks in Germany and elsewhere in Europe – but above all on Berlin‘s Breitscheidplatz – still cast their shadow over the cities. The security situation remains tense today and the security authorities are under massive pressure. It is clear that nothing is clear, at least when it comes to the choice of a citizen-friendly, sustainable and, above all, effective inner city security concept. This is demonstrated by the many different strategies that the cities are adopting.
Nuremberg set up mobile Christmas trees at smaller access points to the famous Christkindlesmarkt. On the Dresden Striezelmarkt a mobile police station was built on the market square. In Berlin, two years after the terrorist attack with a truck that killed 12 people, a nearly seamless security shield was set up for the Breitscheidplatz with mobile vehicle security barriers (VSBs). The site is literally a fortress, with over a hundred huge, tightly-placed, welded baskets containing sand-filled plastic bags. Remaining small access points are additionally blocked with bollards. An overall increased security presence, a stronger police force and several security guards rounded off the preparations. The security concept, which cost approximately 2.5 million Euro, is primarily intended to stop vehicles and is unique in Germany.
But what about ensuring a quick escape during an evacuation, for example, due to an attack inside ‚Fort Glühwein‘, as the Berliner Kurier headlined? Particularly large mobile VSBs restrict the escape routes by their very presence, but also the ability to observe the area to be protected. Those people in the immediate vicinity of an attack only recognize the fact when it occurs, when it is almost too late to escape. So it may be enough for the attackers just to cause a mass panic. And also the effective impact protection of mobile VSBs is still unclear.
Certified or Not?
The mobile barrier market is still young and the protection level offered by many products is not yet proven.
Besides the many high-security products with impact resistance, which are tested and certified according to internationally valid standards such as PAS 68, ASTM F2656 or IWA 14-1, there are many uncertified and even completely untested solutions available. It feels like everything is still in a ‚beta test phase‘. There is often a lack of information on the intrusion distance after an impact. Within the certification itself, the focus is often placed on IWA 14-2, i.e. the ‚Application Guideline‘, instead of IWA 14-1, the ‚Approval Guideline‘.
The latter includes information on the performance requirement, on the vehicle crash test as well as on the performance evaluation, which ultimately demonstrate the real protection level of a barrier. On top of that, crash test certifications always apply exclusively to the tested configuration of a system. Any change, for example in the number or arrangement of components, will basically result in the certification becoming invalid.
Back to Berlin. Fort Glühwein is massive – it is an obviously secure area. Eberhard Diepgen, a former Mayor of the city, told the Berliner Zeitung that of course it could also be a bit smaller. This also heated up the discussion about the visual appearance of inner city security measures. These should be people-friendly and not promote a sense of constant threat.
Not least from this point of view, the city of Rostock has taken a different approach here. The city center, with the Christmas market in the middle, is gradually closed off with 180 bollards. The Christmas market becomes a protected space, with over 50 fixed and removable bollards named ‚Truckstopper‘ itself. These permanently installed barriers are crash tested and certified under real conditions in accordance with British Standard PAS 68.
According to Rostock‘s Law & Order and Security Senator Chris Müller-von Wrycz Rewkowski from the SPD, the very cost-efficient Truckstoppers are visually more pleasant than concrete blocks. The innovative crash bollards are specially designed to protect inner-city areas and can even be equipped with bike racks or hidden in attractive flower boxes, depending on requirements. They also offer some advantages over other solutions. These fixed anti-terrorist barriers with their particularly flat foundations provide confirmed shorter vehicle intrusion distances. Impact loads are dissipated into the ground or foundation at the moment of impact. Due to their permanent installation, they are also more difficult to manipulate; they can‘t be pushed slowly away, for example. Security bollards are particularly suitable in heavily frequented inner-city areas as they prevent vehicles from passing through. At the same time, they allow the unhindered passage of people, bicycles and wheelchairs. Even escape routes are not blocked.
Out of the Way
Michael Dahinten, PPG Sales Manager Germany/Austria, explains: „Available as active or passive systems, bollards offer a high degree of flexibility. Fixed passive systems are suitable wherever areas should be permanently blocked for vehicle traffic. Removable bollards with detachable locks can be fitted when there is an increased terror threat or for popular public events, and on days with a normal flow of people they can be dismantled and stored. Retractable or active bollards are not present in their lowered state and can be easily driven over without hindering the traffic. This also ensures that emergency services have free access. And when there is a security alert, the bollards rise from the ground within seconds, blocking areas quickly, effectively and reliably.“
In Rostock, the bollards can be controlled centrally by the city administration and, in future, also from the fire brigade and rescue service control center. The city is continually extending this strategy and, among other areas, will soon be securing the sea promenade in Warnemünde with bollards.