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Police departments throughout Europe keep trying to find solutions to counter terrorist ramming attacks in public places. Now, the London Metropolitan Police (MET) is trying a new anti-terror measure that could stop attackers ploughing vehicles into large crowds.

The specially designed net vehicle stopping system referred to by officers as ‘Talon’, 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 bringing the vehicle to a stop.

The MET used the new hostile vehicle mitigation equipment for the first time at the recent Naval Association Parade on Whitehall.

According to the met.police.uk, the system is also designed to ensure that the vehicle skids in a straight line significantly 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 new measure 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 mean that the nets can be relocated very quickly if necessary.

This new tool is just one of a number of methods used to protect crowds at public events. Hostile vehicle mitigation barriers have been installed on nine bridges and a number of other sites across the capital following terrorist incidents earlier this year at Westminster and London Bridges. The barriers are a national asset and are used throughout the UK.

Chief Inspector Nick Staley of the Met’s Protective Security Operations Unit said: “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.”