A tactic of hiding explosive devices in litter bins towards the end of the 20th Century saw the removal of bins from the UK’s public places in an effort to save lives and deter further attacks.
In some places they have yet to return, while the need to keep open spaces clean in other locations have seen the introduction of clear plastic bags hung from hoops attached to metal frames.
A common sight at transport hubs, the plastic bag bins are the simplest and most effective response, since the contents of the bin are visible to the outside and there is no secondary fragmentation from the exploding bin, adding to the damage caused by the initial blast wave and primary fragments formed from the bomb components.
However, while cheap and effective, public surveys show that plastic bags are unpopular because they look untidy, which is why many organisations are now looking at anti-ballistic bins.
Designed to resemble traditional litter bins, anti-ballistic bins contain a strong core that contains the primary fragmentation without shattering itself and causing devastating secondary fragmentation.
Instead, the blast from the bomb is simply channelled up into the air.
Securiscape has developed its own anti-ballistic bins, which have achieved the maximum 10-star rating in Government-approved tests and have been installed at a UK airport, where passengers have welcomed them without realising their anti-ballistic capability.
Yet while the technology itself is important, it is equally important to site the anti-ballistic bins in the right place, with the priority being on putting them somewhere the public can see and use them, and where they can be emptied readily.
According to the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure (CPNI) website, www.cpni.gov.uk, anti-ballistic bins should not be sited near to control rooms, near to exits or evacuation routes, by fire hydrants or close to key structural elements such as columns or load-bearing brick walls.
They should also not be placed where large numbers of people congregate or under balconies or mezzanine floors where people will be standing above. Look above for canopies, be careful not to place them near to street furniture or railings and try to place anti-ballistic bins in wide open spaces – not confined alcoves or waiting rooms.
Finally, it is a good idea to place anti-ballistic bins in the view of CCTV cameras so that anybody putting a device in the bin can be filmed or observed doing so.
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