The first line of defence

Alastair Henman, Managing Director at fencing solutions specialist Zaun, discusses the importance of security perimeter systems and the role they can play in helping to protect the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure against the threat of attacks like terrorism vandalism and theft.

Many key challenges are facing the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure when it comes to security. Firstly, it is a desirable target for terrorists. The consequences of a terrorist cell manages to infiltrate a site could be devastating. For example, a utility company’s water supply could be contaminated, or an energy provider’s power generation could be attacked. The knock-on effect of either would be severe. Another issue is that most of the UK’s infrastructure is ageing, which heightens the risk of cyber-attacks if terrorists penetrate control of IT systems associated with power management.

This obviously pushes the importance of security to the top of the corporate agenda. There are a host of other challenges as well. According to reports, theft costs the sector millions of pounds each year, with criminals looking for anything they can cash in on.

Taking all the necessary measures to safeguard your facilities is therefore paramount. This is not only because of the financial implications that a security breach can cause, but the true cost of an attack is much worst. This includes the disruption it can cause to your day-to-day operations, the possibility of replacing stolen equipment or the aftermath of dealing with a crisis.

Another factor that must be considered is the well-being of your staff, customers and the local community around your site. Having suitable security measures to mitigate the risks of attacks and ensure people are as safe as possible is vital. A security breach that potentially scared, unsettled, or hurt a customer or employee can have a damaging impact on your brand and reputation. Likewise, with terrorism, the threat of this generates public fear.

Several measures that Critical National Infrastructure sites can adopt to help reduce the risk of security breaches. For example, simple things like better locks, right through to operating covert CCTV, will deter intruders from entering your facility.

One of the most important areas that will help you do this is the type of fencing you install around your perimeter and certain ‘higher risk’ buildings. The right fencing solution will provide a secure boundary and limit the number of access points a facility has, helping to provide effective management against a wide range of issues like crime and anti-social behaviour.

However, with a wide range of solutions on the market to choose from, what should you expect from a perimeter system?

For sites where security is less of an issue but a perimeter system is still needed, the most suitable solution is a standard mesh fence that uses 6mm or 8mm horizontal wires.

For applications where a higher level of security is required, then there is a range of fencing solutions available that combine excellent aesthetic appeal with a host of security features, thus avoiding a ‘fortress’ look but giving you all the benefits you need.

Zaun’s HiSec solution, for example, is designed to discourage intruders, and this is reflected by its use by the Home Office for prison facilities. The design of HiSec makes it almost impossible to climb and provides reasonable delay when attacked with hand tools.

For sites with the highest security concerns, though, we have recently launched ArmaWeave. The range, which has received the Secured by Design (SBD) Award, is the first of its kind on the market that has been specifically introduced to set new standards in high-security perimeter solutions.

Welding high tensile wire causes brittleness and inferior welds. Developed by our expert design team and manufactured at our production facility in Wolverhampton, the novel weldless manufacturing of ArmaWeave gets around this problem. It features state-of-the-art high tensile woven mesh fencing that requires no welding, providing the ultimate protection level for perimeter fencing with significantly improved delay when attacked with hand, power or non-contact tools than traditional welded mesh fences would stand up against.

Electric fencing can also be used in addition to any security fence to make the perimeter of your premises even more secure. These systems generate a sharp shock when touched, which acts as a powerful deterrent without any long-term ill effects.

The solution you choose will obviously depend on how much of a risk you feel your site is, along with the budget you have to work to.

Another issue that needs to be considered when selecting the right perimeter system is any planned or unplanned maintenance. Specifying and installing a high-quality solution should minimise any unnecessary expenditure to repair or replace part of the perimeter system, particularly if this has been caused by intruders breaking through the fence. If this is the case, it may well have additional financial consequences if the intruders have stolen goods from your site.

At Zaun, we believe close attention to detail, high-quality manufacturing and the ability to provide you with a first-class service offering are the key factors when selecting a fencing solution. We go through extensive product testing and approvals to ensure our solutions meet the highest performance standards and conform to all the requirements like BSI and SBD.

We are also working towards the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) 1175 standard, which provides a rigorous vetting process whereby fencing systems are given an internationally recognised ‘mark of trust’ and are listed in LPCB’s Red Book that promotes products that can provide a reduced risk of security breaches, including burglary and vandalism.

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About Zaun

Zaun Limited is the sole remaining manufacturer of welded and woven mesh fencing systems that manufactures the entire system in the UK.  Zaun makes the mesh, fencing panels, posts, clamp bars and fixings at its state-of-the-art five-acre production facility in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.  Products have been tested and approved by testing organisations including CPNI, LPCB and Secured by Design.

Zaun works very closely with all stakeholders within the business including employees, local, national and international suppliers and a long-established customer base of fencing contractors to design, manufacture and supply high-quality fencing systems, increasingly often providing expertise in integrating PIDs and other systems into holistic security solutions.

Zaun was founded in 1996 and remains a private company solely owned by co-founder Alastair Henman with a regional office in Dubai.  They are certified to the ISO 9001 quality standard. It is also a member of the Perimeter Security Suppliers’ Association (PSSA), of which Alastair Henman is a director.

Zaun is a proud British manufacturer and founder member of the Made in Britain campaign, a key player in the UK fencing market and one of the fastest-growing companies in an increasingly competitive industry.

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