The UK has the best Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (H.V.M.) testing and certification regime in the world. The UK’s development of H.V.M. standards, test techniques and their application have been embraced internationally and been key to the development of the international standards we now have.
This undoubtedly contributes hugely to a much safer world but there is always a real danger that any certification scheme inadvertently promotes counter intuitive outcomes. This is especially true for deployable H.V.M. measures. I’ll explain:
The purpose of any test and certification scheme is to classify or confirm that specific products meet a set of predetermined criteria. These criteria are chosen to best meet the defined needs of specific user groups and are devised, challenged and refined by the highest knowledge and experience base available in the industry.
The problem then arises that the less well informed believe that the test results condense all this knowledge and allow simple comparison between products, and indeed allow simple determination of suitability of particular product for a specific purpose. This is simply not true; without a deep and wide knowledge of H.V.M. measures and their principles any such comparisons are likely to be completely erroneous.
This is further exacerbated for deployable H.V.M. measures since the distributor / deployer is often not an H.V.M. specialist at all but a generalist for who H.M.V. measures are only one product or service within a total portfolio. With something as complex and life-critical as deployable H.V.M. this can represent real danger:
- Specific products may be championed as a universal solution. This can never be the case.
- This can lead to the commoditising of H.V.M. product where ‘cheaper’ replaces ‘truly appropriate’, giving rise to compromised or worse, totally ineffective H.V.M. measures.
- Knowledge of only one, or a narrow range of H.V.M. product, regardless of how good any one single H.V.M. manufacturer’s training is, is simply insufficient. This does not allow selection of the right products from across the industry that interface and complement each properly.
- Limited knowledge can lead to the belief that similar crash test ratings means that products are interchangeable. This can be extremely wide of the mark. There are many other measures of suitability besides crash rating. Just one of many that is often overlooked is whether there is the need for a product to provide protection without continual supervision to ensure nothing is changed.
- The fact that any H.V.M. crash test certificate only applies to the specific configuration of product used in the crash test can be overlooked. More often than not the real-world configuration needed is different to the crash test configuration. Only real H.V.M. expertise can interpret suitability and the effectiveness of any particular configuration.
The industry needs independent assessment of configuration and installation skills. Crowdguard have addressed this by bringing together a leading industrial engineering company, along with years of experience from across the H.V.M. and anti-terrorist fields, expertise which was involved in pioneering the H.V.M. industry’s original product testing Verification Scheme and has configured multi product H.V.M. schemes for critical events around the globe.
Crowdguard are a specialist H.V.M. provider and installer, dedicated to increasing public safety and freedom, for crowds and public events.