|PROJECT: SUNDERLAND AIR SHOW
Sunderland is a beautiful Seaside town located in the North East of England. Its award-winning blue flag beaches at Roker and Seaburn seafronts are ideal for traditional family seaside fun. It’s here where Sunderland International Air show takes place, the biggest free annual air show in Europe. Attracting crowds of up to 1,000,000 every year, the air show features a large number of high-speed jets, breath taking display teams, precision flying and a huge choice of activities on the ground, there really is something for all the family at this action-packed weekend.
Sunderland council required a temporary, pedestrian permeable vehicle mitigation barrier and Crowdguard utilised ATG Surface Guard as the perfect solution. Surface Guard allowed free flow of pedestrians throughout the entire weekend. Sunderland Council requested 70 metres of Surface Guard at 4 key locations to keep their crowds safe from vehicle ramming attacks. The pedestrian permeability of Surface Guard allowed for the free flow of pedestrians, bikes, wheelchair and pushchair access as well as the local vendors transporting their trolleys of bright and attractive merchandise for the children and adults alike.
The solution needed to work around existing street furniture and road cambers as well as working with different road and pavement levels. Due to the modularity of Surface Guard the team were able to deploy efficiently even with a very narrow window of time for deployment. We were even able to effectively uninstall the kit each evening in order to open the roads up to the local community and re-deploy each morning over the 3 days of the event. Because Crowdguard used Ainscough Industrial Services as their deployment partner the team executed this task with ease as they have over 40 years’ experience within the equipment moving and handling industry.
With the commercial stalls, eateries and entertainment stretching the length of the promenade, a product with minimum penetration distance was imperative. ATG Surface Guard has one of if not THE lowest penetration distances on the market.
Crowdguard arrived early on Friday morning to deploy the kit safely into its 4 locations. In the evening once the crowds had dispersed, we trialled a more efficient method of installation and de-rig, supported by ATG access, by removing the carriageways in large sections and leaving safely by the side of the road. Each morning the carriageways were lifted back into place quickly and efficiently ensuring that the crowds of families were protected without feeling like they were under threat from terrorism. The response from the general public and the police was overwhelming in the sense that they praised the council for going that extra mile to make them feel safe and looked after. The product itself brought lots of interest from the general public with many not knowing what it was and not at all suspecting Surface Guard as a Counter Terrorism technology aid.
Jeff Phillips a local resident in Sunderland said “It is great to see the council adopting this forward-thinking approach to keeping the community safe. It certainly makes me want to come back again next year. I didn’t even realise it was counter terrorism.”
Crowdguard’s polite and courteous team chatted to the public about the product whilst watching over the 3 emergency vehicle access units ready to lower them in less than 30 seconds should the need arise and only after authorised permission from the designated line of command.
Working closely with Sunderland Council, Crowdguard ensured the installation of Surface Guard was always deployed using industrial engineering standards and professionalism, whilst maintaining minimal disruption to the local community.
Deborah Ainscough, Operations Director at Crowdguard said. “This weekend was a fantastic event and one that we fully enjoyed supporting. It’s great to work with a council that understands the risks of vehicles being used as weapons as well as other forms of terrorism and criminal activity and is proactive about the solution, investing in the wellbeing of its community. Sunderland are amongst a few councils within the UK that are now leading the way and realising that they need to take additional steps to protect fans and members of the public at temporary events due to large concentrated crowds which make an ideal target for a potential vehicle attack”.