ANTI-TERROR measures to protect the public during big events are being investigated by Southend Council.

The authority joined Essex Police for a demonstration of a device from threat-management company Pitagone.

The “modular barrier” was designed to resist shock from a 7.5 tonne truck travelling at 30mph and is described as “a unique and mobile solution against ramming attacks” by its manufacturers.

It goes on to state the device, which consists of red metal poles which measure 100cm in height joined together, stops the passage of vehicles “even in a hostile situation”.

The demonstration, which was described as “impressive” by Southend Inspector Ian Hughes, took place at a location in Southend.

But council bosses have said the device is merely being considered for traffic management and is not a guaranteed addition yet.

Mark Flewitt, councillor for public protection, said: “The safety of the public during peak seasons and at community events is one of our utmost priorities.

“We have been working with the police to improve our approach to restricting vehicle access to areas where pedestrians gather such as the High Street and central seafront.

“This product is designed to help improve traffic management on busy days where we have high numbers of pedestrians.

“It was shown to us for demonstration purposes only.

“We have not committed to purchasing it as we are in the process of reviewing a number of options and are always open to new ideas.”

When asked what the motivation behind the demonstration was, Mr Flewitt affirmed the council’s position was to manage dangerous parking during the busy seasons in Southend.

The conservative councillor, who was not at the demo but had been briefed, said: “The motivation from my point of view as portfolio leader for public protection was more a lower level safety.

“There was no motivation from a terror-related way at all.

“We have other things in place to stop vehicular access to heavily pedestrianised areas, such as the seafront or the high street.

“If the police advised us that they have a dual use then OK - I don’t see the harm in that but from the council’s point of view, they are for traffic management.”

Inspector Ian Hughes, who was at the demonstration, described the devices as a “type of barrier to mitigate against vehicle attacks” and said the "demonstration was very impressive" on Twitter. 

The Belgium company Pitagone describes itself as “the European leader in threat management and anti-terror”.

They also make hand metal detectors and equipment for detecting explosives or narcotics as well as offering anti-terror training to relevant organisations.