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Safety and Security challenges for protecting stadia and sport venues

Safety and Security challenges for protecting stadia and sport venues
November 18, 2015

In the wake of the terrorist attack on venues in Paris over the weekend and the ongoing threat to live events and public gatherings around the world, Andrew Cooke of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has taken to LinkedIn to share his learnings about risks facing major sporting events and how safety and security must be integrated and considered at the earliest stages of stadia design.

Cooke writes that a typical risk assessment considers threats, vulnerabilities and the impact of the incidents on the event itself. However, games-time threats are difficult, if not impossible, to predict at the beginning of the design phase which could be many years before the actual event takes places.

Therefore, an assessment needs to be made at the start as to which impacts are critical, which are very important and which are important. Not everything is critical in the running of a major event and only critical matters will stop the event from taking place; important impacts probably will not stop play.

The security design (SD) and security operational planning should consider in a holistic manner with the three key sectors of cyber protection, physical protection and personnel security.

Physical security includes tools such as access controls, CCTV, fencing and barriers covering all areas of the event. All of these must be considered at the design stage.

Cyber security is a major concern as event websites have been targeted in attempt to steal information about the event. There are also concerns with the increase in Wi-Fi usage and larger footprint within the stadia. This could have a major effect on stadia command centres as they rely heavily on the internet for monitoring operations.

Personnel security includes the training of the safety and security team as well as operational deployments during the event. Well trained and briefed safety and security personnel are an integral part of the event operations.

To address these three sectors together, the integration of the different aspects needs to be planned at the start of the stadia design phase, following a 'security in depth' approach, but remembering a certain amount of flexibility will be required that will allow for different security circumstances that will arise.

As the security development proceeds it is important to avoid the formation of silos in the management structures and lines of responsibilities. The three aspects of security must be kept together in an integrated approach.

Throughout the tournament planning and operation the holistic approach to security requires all stakeholders to work in closely (police, government, military, stadia managers) to reduce the threats and vulnerabilities that could be outside the control of event organisers. Having a robust safety and security risk management framework in place will identify the most important areas for development; building resilience into the design; and allow contingencies to be identified to be able to recover from unforeseen events.

Cooke concludes that the key message is that security design and operations must be considered at the earliest stage of design, and that “integration is king.”
Andrew Cooke is Director - Security Operations at the Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS).

Following the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris, the ICSS released the following statement:

“The ICSS is extremely shocked and saddened by the horrific attacks in Paris and would like to extend its deepest sympathies and condolences to all those that were affected.

“The ICSS condemns any act of terror and would also like express its full support and solidarity to the French people, as well as the relevant authorities in the country now dealing with the matter.”

For more details about the ICSS and its work go to www.theicss.org.

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

15th November 2015 - VENUES ACROSS THE WORLD SHINE BLUE, WHITE AND RED TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH FRANCE

7th May 2015 - AFC AND ICSS PARTNER TO ENHANCE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF ASIAN FOOTBALL

14th February 2015 - ICSS CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN TRAINING AND EDUCATION OF SPORT SAFETY AND SECURITY PROFESSIONALS

13th September 2014 - RAISED TERROR ALERT LEADS TO INCREASED EVENT SECURITY

23rd March 2013 - IMPROVING RISK MANAGEMENT FOR MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS


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