Should your security be visible or discreet?

For some locations, a highly visible security solution might be just what is needed to deter wrongdoers. With many customisation options available, Fastlane turnstiles can provide the highest level of security, yet still blend elegantly into the wider design of your space.

However, noticeable security may not be right for your location. We explore the reasons why you might, or might not want it.

Why would I want obvious, unmissable security?

Foiling an intrusion attempt clearly counts as a success for your security system. But an even better scenario is where the system deters the would-be intruder from making the attempt at all.

All entrance control systems do this to some extent, meaning they can be the unsung hero, protecting your location even where their capabilities are apparently not called upon. The deterrence effect isn’t considered minor – security specialists would generally list it as a core reason to install any system.

The more visible your security solution is, the greater deterrence it will provide. On the other hand, if your design priority is to signal from the outset that yours is a friendly and inviting space, you may opt for a more discreet solution. The right choice depends on your location and your needs.

The subtleties of visible security

If your location is plainly associated with very high-security concerns, for example, a prison, visible security may send a positive message. Visitors arriving in such a space already know that they are entering a security-conscious zone. Obvious security can suggest care – guests are being looked after and everything is in hand.

Other locations that will need high security may include financial institutions, airports, data centres and other locations holding sensitive information, as well as many government buildings.

Visibility may also be understood in the sense of it being noticeable; a barrier you can pass through with little or no interaction doesn’t impose itself on your thinking. Fortunately, Fastlane turnstiles can be altered as required, including from day to day. For an open day, you might switch your turnstiles to an open, optical-only mode, where users are counted in and out, but not otherwise slowed down.

It’s common for system owners to decide that barriers should hold firm in the entry direction, but give way to a soft push upon exit, with no credentials required. Fastlane units can integrate with a wide variety of credential readers from numerous partners, including quick and simple options like touchless fingerprint scanners. A full-height barrier, therefore, may stay within the attention of a wrongdoer, but quickly pass from the mind of a guest.

A mountain to climb

Barrier height is the key factor in determining how noticeable a security solution is. A tall unit creates the maximum psychological deterrence as well as being difficult or impossible to scale.

All of our turnstiles can detect unauthorised access attempts such as clambering over, crawling under, passback of a credential, as well as tailgating and side-by-side dual entry (“sidegating”).

The footprint of your unit may be constrained by the size of your lobby space, but that needn’t limit your security level.

Units such as our Glassgate 155 can be fitted with locking brakes, while the Glassgate 200 is available in various height options from pedestal height to 1800mm

Barriers instead of people

The full deterrence effect from higher barriers is sometimes useful when other security elements such as onsite staff are absent.

GymSafe, for example, is a specialist access control system for leisure facilities. As we described in our piece about integrating with that system, operators typically rely on remote teams monitoring locations via CCTV. Strong deterrence may be just what is needed, even though the operator may not envisage the space as generally needing the highest level of security.

Layered security

Increasingly, we are seeing partners request multiple layers of security through their site. Additional checks might be sought for sensitive areas such as a server room or executive offices, for example.

The deterrence effect is often most critical in the entrance to your building, so you may not need tall and visible security internally, if it is present in your lobby. In other cases, visible security at all points may be needed.  For example, if leisure centre users must pay to enter the swimming pool, you might feel the need to deter anyone wondering if they can just slip through.

Whatever your specific requirements, Fastlane has a solution to meet your needs. Many of our customers are in precisely the categories we discussed above as requiring very high security. Often, we are unable to discuss such projects, but we have very extensive experience in installing high security and high visibility systems.

To find out more about the options available, or to arrange a tour of the West London facility where we design and make all of our turnstiles, please call +44 (0)208 890 5550 or send an email to