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Attraction, event and venue operators given advice on how to protect patrons in a mass shooting

Attraction, event and venue operators given advice on how to protect patrons in a mass shooting
December 8, 2015

In response to the recent Paris terror attacks, operators of attractions, cinemas and entertainment venues, retail centres, schools, sports grounds and stadia, transport hubs and youth camps have been provided with updated instructions on how to protect fans, guests and members if an 'active shooter' event occurs.

First released in 2011, the updated Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee guide was sent to owners and operators on 16th November asking them to develop detailed emergency plans in the current high-risk climate.

The Active Shooter Guidelines for Places of Mass Gatherings highlight recent terror attacks where shooters will typically attempt to kill as many people as quickly as possible, stating “active shooter massive casualty attacks in Australia remain a real, persistent and substantial threat to the community”, adding that “most incidents will not be effectively resolved through negotiation or peaceful means.”

The Guidelines ask operators how they will quickly evacuate or isolate people for their safety if they come under attack.

They are also told to make sure they can use CCTV to track offenders for police, communicate to people during an attack on how to escape or where to hide, and consider lockdown technology that can trap an offender or protect potential victims.

The Guidelines explain “places of mass gathering (PMG) can pose a broad range of security challenges for their owners and operators.

“They have been specifically identified - both nationally and internationally - as attractive targets for religious and political extremists, as well as disgruntled or mentally impaired individuals.

“Armed offender attacks have occurred and continue to occur in crowded places such as sporting, transport and entertainment venues (so) stakeholders must work cooperatively to ensure that integrated and effective plans and arrangements are in place to prevent or reduce the impact of such incidents.

“These guidelines are intended to increase understanding of the threat that active shooter incidents pose to PMG.

“In particular, they seek to illustrate the key role that private sector stakeholders can play in developing and implementing appropriately informed prevention, preparedness, response and recovery arrangements to reduce the risks posed by such a threat.”

The Guidelines aim to increase stakeholder awareness of what it calls a “dynamic threat”, while also providing guidance on the issues and options that may be considered during risk mitigation and contingency planning activities.

The Guidelines aim to place particular emphasis on the following two principles:

• Prevention and preparedness arrangements should be underpinned by an intelligence-led, risk management approach.
• Effective security outcomes in complex mass gathering environments require cooperation and coordination between all stakeholders.

It adds “gaining a better understanding of the risk environment and options for preventing and dealing with active shooter incidents will enable private sector stakeholders to more effectively contribute to the collective national efforts to manage this threat to PMG.

“It is intended that this knowledge will lead to the development of ‘contingency plans’ or sub-plans that will supplement existing emergency response plans and arrangements at facilities and venues.”

Specific advice in the Guidelines advises locations to “identify potential safe places or strongholds for those unable to evacuate”, adding that “people caught in a situation are advised to prepare their escape route before moving.”

The Guidelines also advise “if they cannot escape, they should lock or barricade themselves in a room using heavy furniture and come up with a violent plan to put in place if confronted that might include throwing objects, or using ‘aggressive force’.

“Consider (only as a last resort) options for arming yourself with improvised weapons to defend yourself in the event that you are located by the offender.”

While Australia’s terror alert level has been ‘high’ since September last year, the New Zealand Government did not change New Zealand's domestic terrorism threat level from ‘low’ after the Paris attacks.

Commenting on this, Dr Paul Buchanan, Director of geopolitical risk consultancy firm, 36th Parallel Assessments, and a former consultant to US Government security agencies, said New Zealand’s “situation is very, very different.

"It's simply not the same context, even though the Government is monitoring, according to them, 30 to 40 individuals who have at least sympathies for the Islamic State.”

It is recommended that The Active Shooter Guidelines for Places of Mass Gatherings document is read in conjunction with the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee’s National Guidelines for the Protection of Places of Mass Gathering from Terrorism (2011).

Click here to view the Active Shooter Guidelines for Places of Mass Gatherings document.

Lower image shows Paris' Le Bataclan concert venue after the 13th November terror attack - bodies have been pixalated.

2nd December 2015 - AUSTRALIAN VENUES TO BOOST SECURITY FOLLOWING PARIS ATTACKS

20th November 2015 - ISLAMIC STATE JIHADISTS TARGET MAJOR VENUES IN TERROR CAMPAIGN

18th November 2015 - SAFETY AND SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR PROTECTING STADIA AND SPORT VENUES

16th November 2015 - VENUE MANAGERS ASSESS SECURITY AFTER PARIS TERROR ATTACKS

24th March 2011 - TERRORIST THREAT FOR CRICKET WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL

1st March 2011 - SIMULATED TERROR ATTACK AT RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA


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