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Heightening safety at sporting events
Sporting events are vulnerable to a number of threats ranging from fan violence, natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Given that terrorist attacks are unpredictable, security managers must plan, respond and deal effectively with the possible consequences of any attacks. A notable terrorists attack at a major sporting event was the 1972 Munich Olympics.
According to the FBI, terrorism is “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (p.6). Hall et al (2008), state that terrorists may use conventional or highly destructive means. Conventional means include knives, guns, and bombs and weapons of mass destruction including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives.
Several indicators of potential terrorist activity that sport event managers should be aware of are:
* Surveillance: It is important to take note of anyone recording activities, taking notes, or using video/camera/observation devices.
*Elicitation: involves individuals attempting to gain information about certain operations. For example, terrorists may acquire knowledge about a stadium structure and the location of security personnel during game time.
*Test of Security: usually conducted to measure reaction times to breaches of security and to test physical security barriers for weaknesses. For example, individuals trying to access unauthorized areas of your facility.
*Suspicious People: this may be someone on your staff that does not fit in because of their unusual behaviour, language usage, or unusual questions they are asking.
*Trail Run: before the final attack, terrorist normally conduct a “dry run” to address any unanticipated problems. This may include recording emergency response times.
Homeland Security (US) have highlighted the following best practices for all sporting venues:
*conducting security assessments
*increasing perimeter security
*enhancing detection monitoring capabilities
*establishing access control
*reinforcing employee procedures to ensure knowledge of emergency protocol (DHS.gov, 2004).
At the end of the day “Sport venue managers must be familiar with terrorist activity indicators, common sport venue vulnerabilities, and possible protective security measure improvements.” (Hall et al. 2008).
"I don't feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning." Michel Foucault
Anand Rampersad (PhD)
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