Public safety – effective venue security

Dave Potts gives us his views on how the private security industry should be at the forefront of venue security

In the last two years, there have been several terrorist attacks at public venues in Europe. These venues such as football stadiums have large transient populations and controlling the flow of people into and around and out of them is critically important to ensure the safety of everyone.

Ensuring spectator safety In our UK stadiums whether that be for football or pop concerts is a huge operation involving a wide array of security solutions. It isn’t a one-dimensional exercise, there is always a mix of personnel on the ground and the latest technologies designed to pick up anything suspicious.

The best technology in the world can’t replicate the workings and effectiveness of the human mind and a well-trained security professional. The ability to sense that something isn’t quite right and to intercept something before it happens puts a human resource as the most important cog in the machine.

The best security officers like the best police officers often have a ‘spider sense’ that sets them apart from the rest. It could be anything that the officer doesn’t perceive as right – anything that doesn’t fit and it needs to be challenged.

In the attack at the Stade de France in Paris in November 2015, one of the suicide bombers had an official ticket for the match between France and Germany. He was turned away from the gate by a security officer who noticed that he was concealing something in his clothing. That simple challenge forced the male to back away from the security officers and he detonated his suicide vest outside the stadium.

That piece of excellent security work saved the lives of many people.

Thankfully in the UK we have not yet seen such attacks at public venues but we need to be extra vigilant and have the right staff deployed.

There are still many venues who use in house stewards in frontline security roles. These individuals are not regulated and trained under the Private Security Act and therefore are not SIA licenced or vetted. Many of them hold down regular jobs during the week and attend major events to earn extra cash.

There is a big issue for concern in that there’s often a vast difference between a trained and alert security officer and an individual who is not trained correctly or has not developed a ‘spider sense’.

Very often security officers are used to issuing verbal challenges and are routinely trained in search techniques. There is an obvious risk factor that if a venue worker who is not a security officer does not have any experience of body searches, or who does not do any at all, that they could miss detecting explosives or concealed weapons.

When procuring staff for venues it is vitally important that public safety is maintained and that the best possible operatives are deployed

At GSTS we have over 25 years’ experience in venue security. All our venue security officers are fully trained and undergo specific venue inductions. Please contact us should you require any further information 0151 707 0007.