London police today began to deploy steel-spiked road mats at major events to counter a new trend of terrorists driving vehicles at high speed into crowds.
TheMetropolitan Police used the new form of "hostile vehicle mitigation equipment", nicknamed "Talon", for the first time during the Naval Association Parade on Whitehall in central London.
The latest equipment takes the form of a road spread net that incorporates tungsten steel spikes.
If a vehicle fails to stop and drives over the net, the spikes will puncture the tyres of the vehicle and the net becomes tangled around the front wheels stopping the vehicle.
"This equipment undoubtedly has the potential to save lives and is just one of a number of measures being taken to provide protection to crowds attending major events in London and reassuring businesses, workers and visitors as they go about their daily lives," said Chief Inspector Nick Staley of the Met Police's Protective Security Operations Unit.
The system is also designed to ensure the vehicle skids in a straight line, reducing risk to crowds and producing a well-controlled stop after which officers can engage with the driver.
When the equipment is deployed, signs are placed in front and behind the net site advising both road users and pedestrians that there are spikes on the road and to follow instructions provided by officers, the Met said.
"The specially designed net vehicle stopping system, referred to by officers as 'Talon', is likely to become a familiar sight at events that attract large crowds in London. The net can be deployed quickly by just two officers in less than one minute and can effectively stop a vehicle up to 17 tonnes. The speed and low manpower required for deployment means that the nets can be relocated very quickly if necessary," a Met statement said.
Different forms of hostile vehicle mitigation barriers have already been installed on nine bridges and a number of other sites across London, following terrorist incidents earlier this year at near Parliament and London Bridge when vehicles were driven into crowds by terrorists.
"The barriers are a national asset and are used throughout the UK," the Met said.
The use of vehicles as weapons is the latest tool used by terrorists, who have struck crowds across Europe with high- speed cars and trucks.
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