How much security is enough when it comes stadiums and sports arenas? What is most commonly overlooked when considering the risks that come with hosting such events? Increasingly, the importance of stringent and all-encompassing stadium security is paramount in a world where terror attacks and politically motivated assaults target arenas drawing large crowds. Most notably, we saw the terror attacks on stadiums in Turkey on Dec. 11, 2016 and in Paris on November 13, 2015, along with several others. In today’s global environment, with lone wolf and jihadist inspired attacks becoming more prevalent, stadium management has had to increasingly focus security efforts that go beyond the standard level of crime and crowd control. With growing risks during stadium events, security measures implemented by management have had to adapt to include these threats. Today, stadiums require a robust security envelope that has to be tailored to the specifics of each unique stadium. Despite these security integrations, the attention to a positive attendee experience is crucial and cannot be overlooked when implementing security. In order to close the most common gaps in stadium security, one must keep in mind the following:
Paying Attention to Security Measures Beyond “Game-Day”
Security focus is normally limited to game-day or a few hours pre-match/event. This leaves a large gap in security which can be exploited by even moderately organized nefarious groups or individuals. The security envelope must be continuous or the gaps sufficiently bridged in advance. Sites used for multiple events must be ‘sanitized’ between events and the site maintained in the sanitized condition.
Expanding Focus Past Security Factors Such as Crowd Violence
Security posture and associated resources and training can be pitched at too low a level with the mitigation measures against crowd violence and access control. While less likely, although this is changing, the impact of a terrorist attack makes it a higher risk than the more common but lower impact crowd violence. If the security envelope provides mitigation against terror threats it will encapsulate lower risk threats more common at events. In addition, the preemptive planning of mass causality incidents will further maximize use of resources, and minimize the potential effect of such an incident.
Looking at the Complete Perimeter
The risk of an incident does not start and stop at the entrance door to the event site. A good level of security within the perimeter of the stadium or arena can push an attack onto a ‘softer’ target within the immediate periphery. As most event locations consist of car parks, surrounding bars and other common points of congregation for attendees so too does the risk migrate to these areas. The security envelope must cover these areas and responsibilities identified and communicated to supporting agencies such as police.
Selecting the Correct Personnel
The success of risk mitigation measures rests predominantly with security personnel. Staff must be vetted correctly to ensure that they do not provide a weak point within the security envelope. Correct security training has to be given, but staff must also be current as well as competent. This means that staff must complete regular refresher training and complete incident drills. The high turnover in staff systemic in many companies makes this a tough but not insurmountable challenge. A stadium’s management must be able to vouch for the professionalism and competency of the security personnel it relies on. Security staff should be the face of the security apparatus within and around the event site. Heavy reliance on police, especially paramilitary police, detracts from a welcoming atmosphere and places a heavier financial burden on events.
Creating Reverse Planning Security Solutions
Often times, stadium security planning fails to address major concerns and possibilities in action/reaction type training scenarios. This method of proactive prevention is a main factor in successful security management. Once details of well-thought-out threats and risks are outlined, a Reverse Planning exercise can be built to assure preparation in the case of an actual attack or escalation. The effectiveness of such reverse planning is dependent on the ability of the organizers to thoroughly evaluate and consider the particular attack modus operandi and define mitigation steps needed. The implementation of this method should include standard operating procedures, special attention to manpower quality, use of physical means, and implementation of technology for identification and monitoring. Within the threat definition it is important to include the “enemy within” scenario. Employees, suppliers, and service providers are always to be considered as part of a potential threat. For more information regarding stadium security, contact MAX Consulting at [email protected] or give us a call +44 20-3540-0434
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