John Goodwill, Operations Manager at Dockland Security Barriers discusses the issues around hostile reconnaissance and the steps that organisations and individuals can take to disrupt potential attacks.  

Most terrorists and terrorist organisations will carry out hostile reconnaissance on intended targets. Pre-planning is carried out especially when a vehicle is to be used as a weapon or as a getaway. How is such behaviour disrupted or even measured? Many town centres have static covert defences built into the landscape.


What happens when temporary measures are deployed?  Unless someone is stopped in possession of notes, images maps etc it’s difficult to realise hostile recon has taken place unless video trawls and ANPR activation provide intelligence to confirm such behaviour.


The potential attacker’s mind set is determined by Intent, Capability and Culture.


Intent… What does the attacker wish to achieve?

Capability…. Resources available to the attacker

Culture…… Attackers personal motivation


So, what info will they be looking for on hostile recon, where can it be obtained, how far will they go in effort to get the info?


Disruption of hostile recon may be achieved with 3 principles.

Deny… Denial of essential info by either online,physical denial unpredictable security measures

Detect… Good CCTV. Proactive security, public awareness giving information i.e.Anti-Terrorist Hotline

Deter… Physical defences influences the attacker’s perception that attack will result in failure


Organisations should actively promote the fact that they practice the Deny, Detect and Deter principle and their capabilities.


Social media is an ideal platform for such dissemination of information. For example, an organisation may promote the fact that they have employ the use of HVM barriers for events through images, videos or corporate website. They could state they have installed a new CCTV system without giving too much detail away.


At Docklands Security Barriers we deploy our hostile vehicle mitigation barriers at various events and sites. They have the effect of being a visible deterrent. They instantly give gated access. Should hostile recon take place during a deployment it should make the potential attacker consider as to whether its suitable target.


We hire and sell our products which are PAS 68 and IWA 14 certificated, are freestanding and deployable on multiple surfaces.


We may never know what atrocities we have prevented but let us continue to deny the attackers the opportunities to attack.