UCL Department of Security and Crime Science


How can a building be designed to withstand a terror attack, without becoming a fortress?

Between 2001-2011, 1300 terrorist incidents took place on European soil

4 December 2018

Attacks may be carried out under the banner of national, political or religious issues, but regardless of the motivation, the same weaknesses are at risk of being spotted and exploited. The RIBS project, funded by the FP7 programme and led by UCL Security and Crime Science, supports the design of effective, viable security measures which offer protection without affecting the functioning of the organisations they protect.

RIBS – Resilient Infrastructure and Building Security – brings together 7 partners across Europe and Israel to assess a range of security systems aimed at securing buildings against hostile reconnaissance, intruders, and chemical, biological, and explosive assaults. A key feature of these analyses will be the inclusion of a broad understanding of the environment and context within which these measures are meant to be implemented, allowing for the selection of the most practical option.

The project will create a simulation environment which will allow organisations to determine their vulnerability to terrorist attacks, and model the implementation of new security measures into a building. Beginning with the identification of potential threats based on the ecosystem of the building (for example, the built environment, flow of people, and existing security measures) the consequences of certain attack scenarios taking place will be evaluated. With the addition of event tree analysis, this can be extended to look at multiple scenarios.

For example, one might consider the multiple paths that a terrorist may take through a building to carry out their attack and the numerous actions which could be taken at each point along the way. The results of this simulation can inform the development of specifications for new security measures, helping the building’s security team to determine the best deployment of resources.

Just one example of how research at UCL Security and Crime Science could change the world.