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Intensive education courses to emphasise recognition of venue vulnerabilities

Intensive education courses to emphasise recognition of venue vulnerabilities
February 14, 2018

Looking to help in the training of staff in best practice security planning and critical incident response techniques, the Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Limited [VMA] is presenting a pair of seminars in Sydney and Melbourne early next month to help up-skill staff in a short amount of time and ensure operations are conducted to industry best-practice.

The courses, Venue Security, Incident Response & Business Continuity Planning in an Escalating Environment, are being conducted at the ICC Sydney on Wednesday 7th March and at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) on Thursday 15th March.

Wayne Middleton CVE, Principal of industry experts Reliance Risk, is an Instructor at the upcoming events, teaching on Business Continuity Planning.

In the current security climate, Middleton explains “the environment has changed and continues to change. While the national threat level is ‘probable’ that could change tomorrow. Venues need to be thinking if that does change, what does that mean for us?

“There’s been a lot of information provided to industry, particularly events and major venues in Australian capital cities in relation to target hardening. So things like hostile vehicle mitigation and ensuring that the places of queuing, access and egress have a clear separation of people and vehicles. The guidelines for hostile vehicle mitigation can help you practically implement what’s needed.

“Ultimately there’s a cost that’s associated with that and they’ll continue to be a cost. Unfortunately it will ultimately be the punter that will pay for this.”

Middleton stresses that venues need to think differently about their preparations, advising “you should have conversations with your neighbours because what happens to them can impact on you. “Particularly where there are precincts with mass gatherings, where you can be a source of information and a safe haven for them and vice versa.

“A good example is what happened with the Lindt Cafe (siege) in Sydney. The incident occurred in a coffee shop but the impact of that was a shut-down of a significant precinct. So anyone operating in that precinct had to go into emergency evacuation and then a business continuity mode. In many cases, it wasn’t to do with their site but where their site was located in proximity to where the incident happened.

“You still have to service clients and continue to operate critical business functions and then to be able to recover to get back to where you were. So it’s important to have an understanding of what those key business functions are and put a plan in place to be able to continue working while site access is denied.”

Middleton stresses that “understanding the vulnerabilities of your venue or business is key.

“Venues should be regularly navel gazing on where they are vulnerable. Whether it’s our people and the regular checks we do with them or whether it’s looking at access control and the lack of access control at certain periods of time.

“Outside of event mode, it could be looking at things like black spots in the CCTV or where they’re allowing vehicles to park to close to important parts of the facility. This is where a device detonating could have significant safety or operations impact.

“You can’t stop things happening but you can respond to it appropriately. So being able to regularly check and test, through desktop exercises and training, to make sure your staff know what the response plan is, can make all the difference.

“With events like an active shooter or other very hard to predict scenarios, you can focus very heavily on trying to prevent it through putting layers of control and checking before people get to venue.

“If they are in venue, how to do we run, hide, fight, tell?

“There are some guidelines available that we can implement.”

The Venue Security, Incident Response and Business Continuity Planning in an Escalating Environment courses are being held at the ICC Sydney on Wednesday 7th March and at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) on Thursday 15th March.

For more information and bookings go to vma.org.au/intensive-seminars/

Images: Event security at the Sydney Opera House (top) and Wayne Middleton (below).

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