Since the early 70's inorganic nitrogenous fertilisers (sometimes spelt fertilizers) have been misused by terrorists as an ingredient in home made explosive (HME). Whilst the concern affects all solid nitrate fertilisers the widespread use of ammonium nitrate (AN) and ammonium nitrate based fertilisers is of particular significance.
The UK currently manufactures or imports about 4 million tonnes of AN and AN based fertiliser annually from a global market totaling 23 million tonnes. Not surprisingly (given the relatively small land mass of the UK) we are by far the heaviest users of AN and AN based fertilisers in the world. Inevitably this means that the blending, storage, transport and use of fertiliser is common-place creating opportunities for potential terrorists to acquire such material.
At this time of year particularly, when large amounts of fertiliser are being delivered to farmers and growers across the UK, anyone who handles or stores fertiliser should consider its' security preventing it from falling into the wrong hands.
Ten Point Plan for Fertiliser Security:
1. Store fertiliser where there is public access.
2. Leave bags of fertiliser in the field overnight.
3. Store fertiliser near to, or visible from, the public highway
4. Sell-on ammonium nitrate fertiliser without the property certification (detonation resistance certificate) as it is an offence to do so.
5. Retain and file all fertiliser delivery notes
6. Wherever possible, and with regard to HSE safety guidance, store fertiliser inside a locked building or compound.
7. Fully sheet fertiliser when stored outside and regularly check to ensure that the stack has not been tampered with.
8. Carry out regular, frequent stock checks
9. Report any unexplained stock discrepancy or loss/theft to the police immediately.
10. Purchase your fertiliser from a Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) approved supplier
To secure YOUR fertiliser, there are many simple measures which, if taken, may prevent a theft.
There is no doubt that terrorists will target those things that are easy to obtain.
Please report ANY suspicious activity at or near your premises, it may prove to be a missing part of a bigger picture.
The key objective is to prevent your fertiliser being stolen in the first instance. Whilst there is no such thing as absolute security, there are many simple measures that can significantly reduce the likelihood of a theft. Storing your fertiliser in an enclosed secure barn or covering fertiliser with a tarpaulin in an open-sided barn may seem basic, but can be effective. Similarly, closing and locking a gate that gives access to fertiliser is cheap, quick and will deter some (but not all) offenders.
It is also important to be aware if any of your fertiliser has been stolen or there has been an attempt to steal it. Putting measures in place will make it much easier to discover such a theft or attempt, thus enabling you to notify the police.
Application of the following principles will help to DETER, DETECT and DELAY any potential intruders:
• Target Hardening: Making targets more resistant to attack or more difficult to remove or damage.
• Target Removal: Permanent or temporary removal of the vulnerable property.
• Removing the means to commit the crime: Making sure that material capable of being used by an offender to commit a crime is not accessible.
• Access Control: Restricting access to sites, buildings or parts of sites and buildings.
• Visibility/Surveillance : Making sure that an offender would be visible if they carried out the crime.
• Environmental Design : Changing the environment of a building, a site or parts of sites or buildings.
• Rule Setting: The introduction of legislation, by-laws and codes of conduct which set out what is acceptable behaviour.
• Increase the chance of being caught: Anything that slows down an offender or increases their chance of being caught.
• Deflecting offenders: Diverting the offenders or potential offenders from committing the crime.