Perimeter security is the most overt, public facing aspect of any venue’s security program. Sports and entertainment venues have put considerable effort into this area for decades, and for good reason. It is the point at which security teams have the greatest ability to ensure the safety and security of everyone in attendance.
Successful perimeter security made all the difference at Stade-de-France during the coordinated terrorist attacks on Paris in November 2015. That night, three suicide bombers had planned to detonate within and around the stadium. Had they been successful, there could have been hundreds of additional casualties. The first bomber attempted to enter the stadium, but a vigilant security guard detected his suicide belt during a pat down. At that point, the bomber backed away and detonated his device outside the venue, killing himself and one passerby.
Two additional attackers had been prepared to detonate their own devices following the initial explosion, targeting a panicked and confused crowd exiting the venue. Security Officials prevented this by quickly deciding not to alert the crowd or evacuate the facility until they had thoroughly evaluated the incident and its potential implications.
Successful perimeter security that night protected the attendees of the soccer match between France and Germany. A well-trained guard at the gate access identified and turned away a terrorist saving hundreds of lives and preventing a catastrophic chain of events. The space inside the venue was safe for fans to remain because of successful perimeter security. Everyone in attendance had already gone through metal detector screening and bag checks. Potential explosive threats had been eliminated. Perimeter security should ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the safety of all fans inside the venue.
How can success at Stade-de-France be replicated?
- Training. Guards at your checkpoints should be trained in behavior pattern recognition for the early identification of potential threats like this, along with proper response protocols.
- Walk Through Metal Detectors. Walk through metal detectors are the fastest method of screening fans, taking only 5 – 10 seconds per person.
- Hand Held Metal Detectors. Hand held metal detectors should be used for secondary checks following walk through screening.
- Clear Bag Policy. The NFL has instituted a clear bag policy at all venues nationwide, making bag checks more effective and efficient. MSA strongly recommends the clear bag policy for all sports venues.