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Post Rambla Attack, Australia Publishes Counterterrorism Guidelines For Shopping Malls And Public Spaces

La Rambla, Barcelona

The Australian government has published detailed guidelines for commercial property owners, developers and designers on how to protect against terrorist attacks.

The guidelines, called Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism, were commissioned in the wake of the attack in Nice in July 2016, where 86 people died when a lorry drove along a busy sidewalk. They have been published following a similar attack last week using a van on the crowded Rambla street popular with tourists in Barcelona.

The guidelines cover several scenarios, including when vehicles are used as a weapon, active shooter situations, homemade bombs and chemical weapon attacks.

The plan includes advice on how commercial property owners can relatively simply and easily install bollards and railings to protect against cars being used as weapons to target crowds.

As well as Nice and Barcelona such attacks have occurred in London and Berlin in the last year. There was a similar situation on Broadway in New York although this was not a terrorist attack.

The guidelines also focus on the design of new buildings and schemes, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stressed that design was key for commercial property owners in reducing the potential for attacks.

“The best mitigations are done at the design stage,” he said. “You can’t proof every site 100% — there are certainly things that can be done to existing sites — but the most important thing is as you get new developments, new plans for security measures are put in place at that time.”

Ray Kelly, the New York Police Department commissioner at the time of 9/11, told Bisnow that developers too often forgo counterterrorism safety measures to reduce cost.

"I am surprised by how little developers look at issues of security before going forward with a scheme," he said. "Often they do it after the structure is up and in place. Developers and architects need to look at security from the beginning."