Minding The Gap: Creating An Integrated Security Solution

At Jacksons Fencing, we talk a lot about integrated security. It sounds impressive, but what does it actually mean?

The short answer is: combining all aspects of security in a layered approach that leaves no vulnerable points.

When we think of integrated security, we tend to think it’s something that only applies to ultra-high security sites; places entirely inaccessible to the public. We generally picture towering fences topped with barbed wire, angry guard dogs and security patrols, glaring floodlights, deafening alarms, and warning signs.

In actuality, the integrated security approach can be applied to any type of site that needs protecting. This could be a high security data centre or a water treatment plant that needs to be protected for public safety. It could also be a business park that requires open access during the day yet security at night, or even a school, where trespassing, truancy and theft of valuable equipment needs to be deterred, while the welcoming nature of the environment is also necessary. Even residential properties require integrated security such as front and back garden fencing, CCTV, alarms and security lights.

So what are the key components of an integrated security solution?

Within the 5 D model of perimeter security, there are main components that make up an effective integrated security solution, namely fencing and deterrents, surveillance and detection systems, access control, and personnel.

Forming the first line of defence against burrowing, climbing or cutting through is not the sole purpose of perimeter security. Fencing and security toppings outline a boundary and act as a deterrent, but they also have a key role in acting as branding for the company. The type of perimeter you design will affect the first impressions visitors have, and you can also fix your logo or other signs on it. This is especially important for schools, who want to create a secure but welcoming environment.

Access control measures, such as gates, bollards, and rising arm traffic barriers, work best when used in conjunction with monitoring. Even on their own, they delay people from coming in, however CCTV and other surveillance measures greatly improve their efficiency. Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) will alert you to unwanted movement, and just simply installing powerful lighting will deter trespassers, but for some high-security sites, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers may be required to combat vehicle-borne threats.

Finally, nothing deters criminals more than the presence of other humans – security patrols, access control staff – taking away the sense that there is an opportunity to go undetected.

Risk Assessment

Whichever security measures you judge to be right for your site comes down to your risk assessment. It’s important to match the measures to the type and extent of risk your property faces to get the most appropriate protection, as you’ll need to consider factors beyond security – aesthetics, privacy, and noise reduction.

As previously mentioned, fencing can act as ‘the public face’ of your establishment. Whether it’s a business or a school, you’ll want to consider the colours you use and how welcoming the appearance should be.

The exterior can put people off wanting to intrude, but it’s a fine balance – too inviting, and it may arouse curiosity in a potential intruder, but you also do not want to build a fortress for children to study in. The importance of coatings should not be overlooked; there are many choices from galvanisation (or zinc alloy coating), to polyester powder coating, as well as marine coating, useful for providing extra durability in coastal areas.

If you judge privacy to be important, choosing a solid fence type is our recommendation, however this does also provide spaces for intruders to hide behind, so think carefully about your needs. By controlling noise coming from your property, you can successfully detract attention from the site while keeping neighbours on your side.

Maintenance

Part of the integrated approach, maintenance of security measures is also important. After all, there's not much point spending substantial amounts of money on security if you’re not checking regularly that it’s working.

Splitting your site into zones is a good way to map out where security is of utmost importance, and where there might be areas you can get away with having lower protection. For example, in a zone that takes longer for security personnel to reach, you want to delay and deter intruders as much as possible. But if there are clear lower-risk areas, you can save a large amount by installing more frugal measures.

When to save and when to splurge

To get advice and properly plan for what you need, you can take advantage of free site consultations and counter-terror initiatives where appropriate. This will help avoid the need to spend more money again in the future, if you discover your systems to be lacking or need to cover mistakes.

If you’re still unsure, you may want to try using temporary barriers to test out what works for your site before installing permanent measures. However if your risk assessment returned a ‘high risk’ result, it’s best to not leave it for months before implementing the final plan.

Finally, though it may seem counterintuitive, spending more upfront could help you save money overall - remember that quality fencing is going to serve you for a long time. It will need less maintenance and replacing, and therefore cost less over time. And if your fencing comes with a long guarantee, even better – you’ll be covered if defects arise as a result of manufacturing processes.

By investing now you’ll have peace of mind, pay less in insurance claims, maintenance and repairs. Budget is not an excuse for poor security, compromising the safety and security of buildings, people and assets, particularly in the public realm. Either get it right from the beginning, or risk having to spend the money twice.

To find out more about creating a personalised integrated security system, how to conduct a risk assessment or help with maintenance, contact us today.

Related products

Jacksons Security has a range of products relating to this article, all complete with our 25 year service life guarantee. If you cannot find the item you are looking for, please do not hesitate to call our friendly sales team.

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