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Vehicle Barrier Systems: How to Restrict Vehicle Access

Vehicle Barrier Systems: How to Restrict Vehicle Access
Vehicle Barrier Systems: How to Restrict Vehicle Access

Controlling vehicular access to your business, premise or property is an important aspect of security – whether you have a company site that backs onto open land, manage an agricultural business or construction site, or want to prevent criminal activity such as trespass and fly-tipping.

But what is the best way to restrict vehicle access? In this guide, we explain your vehicle barrier solutions options and how they work, giving you oversight of the right approaches to vehicle access control for your premises.

Key Takeaways

  • There are significant risks associated with inadequate vehicle access control, including security breaches, public safety hazards, legal and financial penalties, operational disruptions, and reputational damage.
  • There are two principal approaches are described for halting unauthorised vehicle access: physical barriers like concrete blocks and electronic fences that block passage, and verification systems such as access control bollards and automatic barriers that permit entry only to authorised vehicles.
concrete barrier blocks from Clearway

Firstly, do you need vehicle barrier systems?

We’re often asked whether it’s necessary to have control of the inflow and egress of vehicles. There is of course a sliding scale when it comes to the importance of installing vehicle barrier systems and the answer very much depends on your business:

  1. Some sites require more robust vehicle entry controls, where it is business critical that non-approved vehicles cannot enter, including government facilities, airports and military bases.
  2. Others simply need the assurance that rear entry points are not a target for opportunist intruders to exploit (i.e construction sites).

It’s best to speak to one of our site security experts to understand your particular risk level.

Why Are Vehicle Barrier Systems Important?

The reality is that any site, from a residential community to a business facility, needs some way to control the flow of traffic, whether their primary objective is to:

  • Check all site users are genuine customers or have a permit or valid parking ticket.
  • Prevent anybody outside of the workforce or approved visitors from gaining access to a controlled site.
  • Manage traffic to avoid congestion or to assist with health and safety policies – such as when vehicles are arriving at a construction site.

Our security specialists can offer independent recommendations based on your requirements, the layout of your perimeter and the number of entry points that are accessible via vehicles.

Two ways to stop vehicle access

There are numerous types of vehicle access controls and barrier systems that work in one of two ways:

  1. Stopping or blocking any vehicle from driving through a physical perimeter
  2. Verifying that any car that enters is approved and authorised.

It is also worth clarifying some businesses and site owners use multiple types of vehicle entry controls positioned at different points around their perimeters – such as concrete blocks around the far boundaries of the site and electronic bollards powered by ANPR tech at the main entrance.

Stopping and Blocking Options

Concrete Barrier Blocks

Concrete blocks are incredibly cost-effective, but also an efficient way to stop any vehicle from passing a defined point.

Used to prevent ram-raiding, fly-tipping, trespass and vehicles entering work sites or pedestrian zones, concrete barrier blocks have a wide range of applications.

Precast concrete blocks are very heavy and impossible to move without specialist lifting equipment. They can be configured in any shape, size or height you require and can stop any vehicle from passing, including lorries, larger industrial vehicles and off-road quad bikes.

We offer concrete barrier block hire for short-term usage and for longer-term requirements, erecting a barrier to your specifications, and adjusting the layout or position of your barrier as needed.

Electric Security Fences

At their most basic, electronic fences serve as a physical deterrent to vehicles attempting to gain unauthorised access.

The presence of a fence makes it significantly more challenging for a vehicle to enter a protected area without proper clearance.

The visible presence of an electronic fence, especially one known to be part of an integrated security system, acts as a strong deterrent to potential intruders.

Knowing that an attempt to breach the perimeter will trigger alarms and potentially lead to an immediate response by security forces can dissuade most from attempting to gain unauthorised access.

Verifying and Authorising Options

Access control bollards

Automatic barriers and bollards

Bollards prevent vehicles from driving through a protected zone and act as vertical panels that can cause extreme damage to the underside of a car. Security bollards can be used in varied ways, including automated functionality ideal for vehicle barrier systems used on a site that does not have 24/7 guarding.

For example, your security bollards might activate immediately depending on the detected speed of an approaching vehicle or lower automatically when a visitor or colleague scans their credentials or security pass.

These bollards can also be designed with heavy-duty materials for sites where there is a risk of deliberate vehicle trespass, stopping any vehicle of any size or weight from entering your site.

Access control bollards are easy to configure, and are used in a variety of locations, protecting a singular reserved parking spot, acting as a barrier to compounds and car parks, or around locations where vehicles entering and leaving a site need to be checked before onward travel.

Automatic barriers

Clearway SOSEC 200 Barrier

Automatic barrier systems are a pivotal component of modern security and traffic management strategies, offering a versatile and always-on solution to control vehicle access to sites.

Automatic barriers provide direct control over who enters and exits a property. They can be deployed at all vehicular access points, allowing only vehicles with the proper credentials (such as RFID tags, access codes, or recognition via an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system) to pass.

The physical presence of a barrier is a significant deterrent to potential intruders. Knowing that access is strictly controlled and monitored discourages attempts at unauthorised entry, as the likelihood of detection and intervention is high.

Beyond security, automatic barriers are invaluable for managing vehicle flow. They can be used to regulate traffic in busy areas, allocate parking efficiently, and prevent congestion within a site. This is particularly useful in commercial and residential complexes, event venues, and public facilities.

Prevention is better than the cure: Detecting an unauthorised vehicle

As we stated earlier, illegal vehicle access causes no end of trouble, from operational disruption to fly-tipping and theft. We find that it can be more costly and time-consuming to fix these issues in comparison to investing in preventative measures to swiftly detect and deal with illegal vehicle access before these issues occur. 

Have you considered the following?

Perimeter Intrusion Detection systems

Clearway inView Detect PIDs with engineer

Many sites and businesses need a way to prevent unauthorised vehicles from accessing their property, often via open-plan land, public footpaths or other rights of way that exist around the outer perimeter.

Perimeter controls are also used within commercial compounds or industrial facilities that cover a broad area, and that would be difficult for a guard or surveillance system to cover.

Intrusion detection systems like the inView Detect can be deployed quickly and cover 360 degrees, raising an alert when any movement – including an approaching vehicle – is detected.

When a potential threat has been identified, the perimeter security device notifies the appropriate parties to investigate the intrusion, whether the site owner, a security team, the local police force or our Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)

ANPR Camera diagram

We’ve mentioned ANPR – automatic number plate recognition – which is a powerful way to augment the functionality of vehicle barrier systems.

Business and site owners can manage a database of approved number plates, adding new authorised vehicles when recruiting new staff or arranging a delivery from an approved contractor or vendor, for example.

ANPR cameras are integrated with access control bollards, security gates, and other devices, ensuring that only authorised vehicles are allowed entry.

These camera systems are also widely used to prevent users from leaving a car park or other facility without paying and will only instruct the bollard or gate to lift when the number plate is associated with a confirmed ticket or receipt.

Secure sites often use ANPR tech to control gates and entry points around the clock and to log data about each vehicle, including the time and date of entry and exit and the duration spent on site.

Stopped Vehicle Detection Systems

Clearway Stopped vehicle Detection (SVD)

Finally, stopped vehicle detection systems are used extensively around public highways and in high-risk sites where a stationary vehicle presents a security or safety risk.

These cameras can differentiate between cars and other objects and raise an alert when a vehicle has not moved for longer than the specified time.

Each unit scans a 360-degree angle and covers a wide surveillance radius.

This technology provides businesses and public access sites with an always-on approach to detecting suspicious behaviour or investigating unusual incidents where a vehicle has stopped in a limited-access zone.

What are the consequences of poor vehicle management?

The consequences of illegal vehicle access can be broad and significant, affecting not just the individuals and properties directly involved but also having wider implications for public safety and security. Here are some of the key consequences:

  1. Security breaches: Unauthorised vehicle entry into restricted or secure areas can lead to significant security breaches. This can compromise sensitive information, endanger individuals, and disrupt operations in facilities like military bases, government buildings, airports, and private enterprises.
  2. Public safety risks: Illegal vehicle access, especially in crowded public spaces, poses severe risks to public safety. It can lead to accidents, injuries, or even fatalities, not to mention the potential for it to be a method of carrying out acts of terrorism or violence.
  3. Legal and financial penalties: Individuals caught attempting or succeeding in illegal vehicle access can face substantial legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record. Additionally, there may be financial implications for the damage caused during the incident, which can include repair costs, legal fees, and increased insurance premiums.
  4. Operational disruption: When a vehicle illegally accesses a facility, it can cause significant operational disruptions. For example, you may become a victim of fly tipping or even squatting. Resolving these issues will lead to a delay in proceedings, loss of productivity, and the need for emergency response efforts (or even legal issues), which can be costly and affect service delivery.
  5. Loss of trust and reputational damage: A breach can result in loss of consumer trust and damage to reputation, especially if personal data or safety is compromised. This can have long-term impacts on customer loyalty and business prospects.
  6. Psychological impact: The threat or actual occurrence of illegal vehicle access can have a psychological impact on those involved or those who witness the event. It can lead to increased fear, stress, and anxiety among employees, residents, or the general public, especially in areas thought to be safe.

If you would like further information about any of the vehicle barrier systems, access controls solutions or preventative methods as discussed here, please contact the Clearway team. Alternatively, you will find additional details and specifications through our service and product pages.

The Clearway Team

The Clearway Team

Clearway is one of the UK’s most successful, innovative and rapidly expanding integrated security services and intelligent protection organisations – designed to protect people, property and assets.

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