With summer in the UK fast approaching – along with the array of music festivals, sporting meets and other events it brings – there has never been a more important time to stress the crucial role security systems and personnel play in keeping these events secure.
In today’s event landscape, threats have shifted from petty crimes and rowdy behaviour to something far more sinister. Over the past few years, large-scale events and crowded places have found themselves the target of atrocious terror attacks such as those carried out in 2015 at the Bataclan concert venue and Stade de France in Paris. In 2016, a terrorist also killed 49 people and wounded 58 others in an attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
These attacks have shown us time and time again, the threat of terror is not unique to any one place or country. Therefore, it is absolutely essential the general public have confidence in and can rely on security providers to protect large crowds at events.
As security professionals have learnt from past attacks and adapted protective measures, terrorists have also evolved their own tactics. For example, vehicles were used as the weapon of choice in both the Berlin Christmas market attack and the Nice terror attack on Bastille Day in 2016 – which killed a total of 96 people combined.
Terrorists are also increasingly turning their focus to the perimeter – creating somewhat of a paradox within event security, as crowds are potentially exposed to greater risk while waiting to enter or exit a venue. For example, the 2017 Manchester Arena attack took place outside the ticketing perimeter in the foyer, as crowds were leaving the concert. The location and time of the attack were very deliberate – chosen because the security presence would likely have been much lighter around this time than during entry.
However, the outer security perimeter must stop somewhere: people will always have to cross from the area outside the event into the security system and, as long as that moment exists, then an attack targeting the area just outside the cordon will be at risk.With this in mind, it is essential that event organisers assess these safety concerns and implement measures to mitigate the potential risks.
Working together with law enforcement agencies and security professionals, it is vital that event organisers manage both the space within the venue and the surrounding streetscape, in order to ensure the safe movement of people. This can be done by using rapidly deployable, mobile security solutions to protect events and large crowds from moving threats.
The best way to approach venue safety is to have a solid contingency plan in place, which takes a holistic approach and covers the three key areas of security: physical measures, information and personnel. Intelligence gathering and analysis is paramount in protecting and potentially thwarting attacks; equally, staff training and use of the best security technologies are key.
Event organisers also need to be keenly aware of the numerous threats, challenges and vulnerabilities facing their event space. In particular, special attention must be given to exterior perimeters, entry and exit points, entertainment zones and bottlenecks leading into transport hubs such as taxi ranks, bus stops and train stations.
An outsider perspective can often prove beneficial when it comes to identifying threats. It can, therefore, be useful to enlist the help of a specialist security consultant to assess risks and produce the corresponding contingency plans. Independent professional support can also help ensure the appropriate security measures are in place to be able to react effectively to evolving threats, whilst also complementing the event environment and overall operation.
For example, 2X Systems was recently tasked with providing the security for the high-profile 75thanniversary commemorations for the D-Day landings. Among other products, the company’s 2X-833 walk-through metal detector was used to ensure the safety of the Southsea event – which saw Theresa May joined by the Queen, Prince Charles and US President Donald Trump, as well as the leaders of every other country that fought alongside the UK in the Battle of Normandy.
To find out more about 2X Systems’ range of security screening products and mobile security solutions, visit 2xsystems.com.