What are the security challenges of public events?
28 May 2021
Large public events were out of the question during the depths of the pandemic. However, public events are likely to experience a resurgence along with a more optimistic outlook in the coming months. In addition, there will likely be pent-up enthusiasm for these events among individuals weary from months of isolation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of public events planners in 2021?
As large public events venues such as stadiums and concert venues get ready to resume normal operations, they will be looking to deliver an enhanced visitor experience while ensuring safety and security. To achieve this, they will need a comprehensive security strategy to effectively manage the flow of people in and around the venue, ensure that patrons, staff, contract workers, and suppliers have secured access to the right areas, and ensure that security staff have access to situational intelligence so they can respond quickly and effectively to any event. At the same time, venues are looking at ways in which they can combine data from a variety of systems to enhance and customise their customers’ experience. Many are looking at ways in which they can integrate ticket credentials with access to specific areas such as VIP suites, beer gardens, specific viewing areas, etc. so patrons can access the appropriate zones based on the type of ticket package they purchased.
One of the biggest security challenges is not knowing what rules will be in place in advance. Governments must be flexible in the measures they put in place, so security provisions need to be just as flexible to meet legislation and keep people safe. People capacity will be a vital consideration, so automated systems that help count entry and exit, as well as monitoring spaces, will be invaluable. Thermal detection systems will still need to be alert to abnormally high body temperature for further investigation. Track and Trace will also be important in ensuring that if anyone with suspected COVID is present that potential spread can be contained safely. Security teams will need to ensure any anti-social behaviour is controlled – particularly if social distancing measures are to be maintained. There is also a discussion of “vaccination passports” in various parts of the world. Should they become a reality then security resources will need to be allocated.
As more people get vaccinated over the next several months, I think you are going to see a large increase in outdoor public events start to roar back to life. Along with these increased events will be a huge number of people ready to attend and get out of the house. Protecting these people, along with security and event personnel, will be a major undertaking and require security measures to ensure their safety. Number one is securing the perimeter of an event and not allowing a vehicle-borne threat to have access to these individuals. Portable products can assist with a security plan. A portable wedge barrier can be towed into place and set up in 15 minutes to M40 level protection, stopping a 15,000 lb vehicle travelling at 40 mph. Portable bollards work in conjunction with the portable wedge barriers or as a standalone option to cover even larger openings. Portable bollards carry either an M30 or M50 rating and can be put into place by the manufacturer or via a forklift. Easy setups and high-level vehicle threat protection add up to a winning combination for public events.
As the world emerges from the pandemic, event planners will once again be welcoming visitors to gather in large crowds. The resulting security challenges are familiar enough, although lingering consequences of the pandemic could add new concerns to the mix. We can all be encouraged by a return to relative normalcy and assured that security is prepared to protect event organisers, operators, contractors and attendees.
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