The G8 Summit in Enniskillen of the world’s most powerful politicians involved 4,700 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers and 3,600 from other UK forces in a security operation that cost about £60m.
The PSNI wanted the securest G8 ever at a time of ‘severe terrorist threat’ and hoped that its reputation for dealing with public disorder plus unprecedented physical, cyber, technical and logistical protection would keep many potential protesters away.
PSNI approached Zaun to design, manufacture, project manage and install an ‘impregnable cordon’ around the world leaders to guarantee their security throughout the summit at Lough Erne.
The rectangular site was protected on its long northeastern boundary by the Lough Erne lake. After extensive testing, Zaun designed its single largest ever temporary installation using two of its premier high-security fencing systems for the other three sides.
It installed its 3.6m high SecureGuard PAS68 temporary security fencing along the 5.7km road to the southwest of the site, which runs broadly parallel with the lough. In addition, Zaun integrated rising arm barriers and 10 PAS68 gates for secure access control along the fence line.
It also put in 1.7km of its award-winning Rapid Deployable System (RDS) at each end, creating a secure perimeter from the road to the edge of and into the lake.
Zaun had to make several adaptations to its multi-award-winning RDS that was first used for four political conferences on the mainland in 2012 and bought by The Home Office to add to the National Barrier Asset.
In addition to the cable system on the front of the fence line gives the system it’s PAS68 rating of 30mph (PAS 68:2010 V/7500(N2)/48/90:11.6/0.0), Zaun incorporated further enhancements to prevent mob attack on the run-up to the summit. Both RDS and SecureGuard were extensively tested by PSNI and the Home Office against mob attacks. These tests will now form the basis of a new standard adopted by the Home Office when testing systems.
Zaun also created specially designed posts to carry additional one-tonne weights to prevent movement on the 30-metre section of RDS fencing that actually tracked into the lake itself to discourage protesters from breaching the perimeter via the water.
RDS was used on remoter areas around the edge of forest land, dirt tracks and grassy knolls with undulating ground, and boggy land at the airport to provide security for Airforce One and other presidential jet landings.
While the entire system took only 10 days to install and 6 days to remove once the summit was over, Zaun had to plan the logistics like a military operation.
Aside from the 7.5km of fencing system, Zaun had to ship 650 RDS concrete blocks, and nearly 2000 galvanised steel SecureGuard barriers, a total of almost 2000 tonnes of material, weeks in advance to store in a disused quarry near to the site.
Zaun rented £200,000 of specialist plants, including tracked vehicles and cranes, to install the hotel resort and airport systems. A team of around 50 highly-trained operatives completed the installation, backed by logistics, manufacturing and health & safety experts – working throughout on maximum security alert that demanded police escorts and vehicle bomb checks at all times and no access to the nearby town of Enniskillen.
They had to collaborate with the local PSNI force, supplemented by mainland police and the security services of both Russia and the US, to deliver what has been dubbed the most secure G8 summit ever staged.
During the summit itself, a squad of standby crews was available 24/7 to repair, maintain and replace any compromised systems.
The security investment has proven itself to be more than worthwhile. We planned based on previous G8s. I wouldn’t do anything differently if we started again.