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How did the University of Manchester get it wrong?

Late yesterday (5th November 2020) students from the University of Manchester attacked a ring of temporary fencing that had been erected around at the Fallowfield halls of residence. Earlier in the day, the university had issued a statement saying the fencing was put in place as a security measure as England enters another four-week lockdown.

However, students’ numbering in their hundreds made light work of ‘tearing’ down the temporary fencing due to several issues such as incorrect ballast, the wrong type of temporary fencing and a complete lack of security features.

As can be seen in the below video from BBC News website the fencing system was able to not only be pushed over but also picked out of its feet and laid on the ground.

What can be done?

Whilst the argument will continue for many days over if the University was in the right for erecting a temporary security fence; or if this was too much pressure on a student population that is having to deal with another lockdown when they are far from their parental support. The choice of temporary fencing is a major issue that needs addressing immediately.

Mobs and Temporary Fencing
(Image: Joel Goodman)

The temporary fencing used stood no chance against even a small number of individuals never mind in a location that could and did provide a catalyst for high numbers of people to form together against as they described ‘prison-like fencing’. Where there forms a risk of any form of attack the end-clients have a responsibility to make sure that their temporary fencing poses no risk to the general public.

The ability to ‘tear-down’ the fencing posed such a risk. Scenes of fencing laying on the ground offered many trip hazards for the large crowd and could have resulted in injury. It is imperative that when selecting temporary fencing you make sure it can do the role you require from it. That is why we have spent years developing a range of temporary fencing solutions that have withstood mob attack, manual forced entry and can resemble a permanent fencing system rather than a prison.

Mobs and Temporary Fencing
(Image: Joel Goodman)