The attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017 underlies the importance of stringent security throughout public areas of your sports or entertainment venue. A suicide bomber targeted crowds during egress, avoiding any security checkpoints. The attack resulted in 22 casualties and 119 injuries. Security in public areas surrounding your venue can present a huge challenge, but there are efficient steps to take.
Image Credit: Mirror.Uk
The first important step is the creation of a secondary perimeter. The potential loss of life in any successful attack is greatest closer to the venue, as crowd density increases. Consequently, it is important to push back the secure area as far as possible. This should include a secondary perimeter at the edge of parking areas, or at the most sensible location for your particular venue. Preliminary screening should begin here with explosive detection canine teams, controlled vehicle access, and operatives trained in behavior pattern recognition.
It is common to focus security resources on access control at sports and entertainment venues. The Manchester attack sheds light on the importance of strong security during egress as well. Crowds are still dense at the point. Simple adjustments can have a positive effect. This includes good lighting and effective crowd control strategies. By strategically directing sections of the crowds through guarded exits, it is possible to prevent an attack, or at least minimize loss of life. It can also be beneficial to deploy security and law enforcement officers trained in behavior pattern recognition, both as a show of force and for the detection of suspicious behavior.
Explosive Detection Canine Teams
Explosive Detection Canine (EDC) teams can be key to success in protecting public areas from explosive threats. Canine teams can sweep large areas for trace amounts of explosive odors in a non-intrusive manner. Time and again, canines are proven more effective than any explosive detection technology. Their presence also serves as a deterrent, often discouraging hostile actors from even attempting an attack at that location.
Hostile Surveillance Specialists
Hostile actors and terrorists frequently conduct pre-operational surveillance in advance of large attacks such as Manchester. They scout locations to determine areas of weakness and vulnerability in security programs. They frequently take notes and pictures, making their activity identifiable. In the days and weeks prior to your events, MSA recommends deploying plain clothes operatives trained to detect this kind of surveillance long before an attack is carried out.