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Venues Must Prepare for Terror Attacks

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Home secretary Priti Patel is detailing proposals that require venues to be prepared for a terrorist attack. This latest development comes after a long and widely respected campaign from Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett who died in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

On the 22nd of May 2017 an extremist suicide bomber detonated a home made bomb as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Twenty three people were killed in the terrorist attack and 1,017 were injured, including a number of children. Many more suffered psychological trauma that continues to impact their lives.

Martyn’s Law

Ever since the horrendous terrorist attack Figen Murray has tirelessly campaigned for central Government to take steps to make public venues more secure by adopting tough, anti-terrorism security measures. In February 2020 ministers announced they would be starting the previously proposed public consultation on ‘Martyn’s Law’, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay in launching the ‘Protect Duty’ consultation caused a great deal of frustration and anger amongst the families of those affected, shared by those involved in developing it.

The government was very concerned that many businesses, especially smaller ones, would struggle to participate in the consultation due to the pandemic. It was recognised that their involvement was essential to ensure security implementation proposals were workable.

The intention behind the `Protect Duty` consultation is that owners and operators of all publicly accessible locations will be required to consider various proportionate protective security measures. What is considered to be ‘proportionate’ varies based on the size and nature of an establishment and the activities that take place there.

Venues Have Legal Duty to Prepare

Its now expected that Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce details of proposals on Monday 10th Jan. 2022, following lengthy consultation into specifically which types of locations should be bound by the new ‘Protect Duty’ scheme.

The consultation derived feedback from around 2,750 respondents in which 7 out of 10 agreed that publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect people from attacks. The government’s definition of a publicly accessible location is:

“A publicly accessible location is defined as any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission. Publicly accessible locations include a wide variety of everyday locations such as: sports stadiums; festivals and music venues; hotels; pubs; clubs; bars and casinos; high streets; retail stores; shopping centres and markets; schools and universities; medical centres and hospitals; places of worship; Government offices; job centres; transport hubs; parks; beaches; public squares and other open spaces. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does demonstrate the diverse nature of publicly accessible locations.”

As noted, the list of publicly accessible locations is comprehensive, including venues such as pubs, clubs and bars along with high streets, shopping centres and other open spaces. Currently, there is no legal requirement for venues such as these to employ anti terrorist security measures.

Importantly, it is stated that security measures should be ‘proportionate’ to the size of the venue. This puts a greater responsibility on larger, high capacity locations.

Protecting Against Terrorism

The Government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure is the government authority that provides advice on protecting the country’s essential services, facilities and networks from terrorism and other threats. In their ‘Protecting Against Terrorism’ publication they provide some valuable, practical advice and top ten protective security tips. This practical guidance is relevant to all establishments, here`s a summary of their 10 tips.

  1. Conduct a risk assessment.
  2. When acquiring or modifying premises, consider security requirements at the planning stage.
  3. Make security awareness part of the organisations culture.
  4. Ensure good, basic security house-keeping.
  5. Keep all access points to a minimum.
  6. Install appropriate physical security measures.
  7. Maintain appropriate mail-handling procedures.
  8. When recruiting staff or contractors, always check identities and references.
  9. Take proper and rigorous IT security precautions.
  10. Plan and rehearse business continuity and incident response plans.

While the content of the third edition of the Protecting Against Terrorism guide is a little dated the practical advice and guidance is still valid.

Protective Physical Security

Physical security refers to the various devices and physical precautions used to ensure venue security. They include CCTV, perimeter security, intruder detection systems, access and entry control systems, security guards and more.

Walk-Through Security Metal Detector Arches

Walk-through security metal detector arches, sometimes called knife arches, have become increasingly common as venues endeavour to enhance their security measures. Some COVID-19 vaccination centres have even been using metal detector arches to help keep their staff safe and secure during pandemic.

Garrett Security Metal Detector Arch
Garrett Security Metal Detector Arch

 

Some people are concerned over the safety of walk-through metal detectors. These totally harmless security devices use electromagnetic technology to detect metals. They don’t emit any forms of harmful radiation, they don’t use x-rays and they are perfectly safe to be used by pregnant women.

Another concern some people have relates to metal implants. Metal detectors are sensitive to commonly implanted orthopedic metal materials such as stainless steel, titanium and cobalt chrome.

Hand Held Security Metal Detectors

Due to their ease of use and relatively low cost hand-held metal detection wands are becoming increasingly commonplace. Like metal detector arches, these devices don’t emit any harmful radiation, relying on electromagnetism to detect metal objects.

metal detector wand
Hand Held Metal Detector Wands

 

Devices consist of two primary working parts: a Transmitter Coil that creates an electromagnetic field (EMF) and a Receiver Coil that detects magnetic fields. The EMF created by the coil extends to around 20cm (8 inches). By passing the wand over a subjects body, within the required range of 20cm, any concealed metal objects result in induced electromagnetic fields, detected by the sensitive Receiver Coil, alerting the operator with an audible alarm.

Random Search Selectors

One of the challenges faced by busy venues such as night clubs and concert halls is the number of attendees. Often, stopping and security screening every individual simply isn’t a practical option. A solution is randomly selecting people for more rigorous searches, but making truly random selections is very difficult. All humans are susceptible to various types of bias which need to be excluded from the selection process.

Random Search Selector

 

Random Search Selectors are cleverly designed, simple devices that remove the possibility of bias affecting search selections. Operators and security staff no longer need to worry about possible accusations of bias or prejudice. Random Search Selector devices are simply configured to nominate people for more thorough security vetting based upon a preconfigured percentage. Each time the big red button is pressed the device randomly tells the operator to either ‘search’ or ‘pass’.

Search and Inspection Mirrors

Search and inspection mirrors are another useful tool in the physical security arsenal. Widely used by the police, customs and excise and port security they’ve now become essential to those responsible for safety and security for commercial organisations.

search and inspection mirrors
Telescopic Search and Inspection Mirror with Torch

 

Telescopic search and inspection mirrors along with trolley mirrors make the process of thoroughly searching vehicles much more effective and faster.

Importance of Deterrence

Deterrence is a central feature of successful conterterrorism security measures. Its also an important factor in designing cost-effective, proportionate security tactics that work. The use of security metal detectors, personal searches, vehicle inspections and other security techniques will significantly boost venue security.

If you have any questions about security metal detectors or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 13th January 2022

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