Last edited 04 Jun 2019

Perimeter security

Access control is the selective restriction of access to a particular place, building, room, resource or installation. To gain access to a restricted location an individual generally needs to have authorisation or to be given permission to enter by someone that already has authorisation.

Perimeter security can be used to prevent intruders and criminals from penetrating a defined boundary between land, buildings or parts of buildings and gaining access to protected people, property or assets. Perimeter security may be created by psychological, physical or electronic barriers which:

  • Deter.
  • Defend.
  • Detect.
  • Delay.

Perimeter security is commonly required to protect operations such as:

  • Transportation (airports, stations, ports, bridges).
  • Utilities (dams, power plants, pipelines, energy distribution networks).
  • Industry (chemical, oil and gas operations).
  • Commerce (offices, banks, warehouses, entertainment facilities).
  • Defence (military bases, weapons storage, command centres).
  • Government (embassies, courts, departments).
  • Correctional facilities (prisons and other institutions).
  • VIP areas (secured estates, royal palaces).

There are a great number of methods that can be used to provide perimeter security.

  • Fences, railings and walls.
  • Perimeter structures.
  • Street furniture such as cycle racks, seating, planters, and so on.
  • Gates, turnstiles, boom barriers, bollards and height restrictors.
  • Electric fences which deliver a non-lethal electric shock. Attempts to short circuit, reduce the voltage or breach the fence can trigger an intruder alarm. Some fences have the ability to pinpoint perimeter disturbances making it quicker for building occupants to be alerted to where a potential intrusion is taking place.
  • Buried cable detection systems which provide covert perimeter security, detecting the precise location of intruders.
  • Closed-loop systems in which vibration sensor cables are installed at high and low levels on a perimeter fence.
  • CCTV used to oversee the perimeter.
  • Microwave, infrared or radar sensors which can detect walking, running or crawling targets. When an intruder enters the detection zone, changes to the field are registered and an alarm is triggered.
  • Rising kerbs and road blockers.

Construction sites can use perimeter security for safety purposes, and to prevent damage, theft or vandalism.

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