Working at an event can be fun and exciting but that can’t change your levels of awareness and preparation even if other patrons aren’t taking the possibility of violence seriously.

It’s never too late to review your policy and practice regarding event security. We’ve seen over the past couple of years with atrocities that have unfolded here and across the pond that lessons can always be learned going forward when planning security at events.

Accept the reality that something has the potential to happen

Some events may seem to have a low threat level but it’s always important to be aware of the worst-case scenario. While there are lots of resources given to Olympic sized events, political conferences and large music festivals, the run of the mill high school sports day or graduation ceremony might not have the resources and may even be understaffed. If you’re working at one of these types of events don’t let people’s attitudes take away your awareness levels from the security threat.

Keep your eyes on the ball

You might be fascinated by the local celebrity at the event you’re attending and if this is the case you might want to think about changing your role. Everyone’s attention might be at the stage where the action is but the threat will be elsewhere, have your attention on the crowd.

Stay on task, don’t get side-tracked by a request from someone else. Let on-duty staff take care of routine duties.

Communicate with all personnel

At the event (before and during) it’s vital that you contact other security agencies and general staff. Make sure they know how to get in touch with you and to observe and report on anything suspicious.

Staff members working in the car park or at the service desk should get the same message. Let them know how to contact you and encourage them to use their gut instinct and report on anything suspicious.

If possible gain intel

Make sure you know any threats to controversial speakers or to the VIP speaker who’s attending. Speaking to promoters and managers may help in this case.

Know how many police officers (of if any) will be on duty and what will be the likely response for fire and rescue also. Having a plan for a command post, staging points and more will prevent confusion amongst first responders in case of an emergency.

Seek cover if an attack has happened or imminent

If an attack has happened or has just occurred it’s vital to survive to inform first responders of the situation. You may be compelled to help save lives or other heroic acts but living so you can provide information to the police, providing aid or helping survivors are all reasons to seek cover initially.

Understand spontaneous vs planned violence

Should a fight erupt, be aware of potential weapons. Watch the crowd closely. Look at body language of groups or individuals that are part of the crowd. Look at signs of weapons concealment, maybe a knife that could be hidden in a rolled-up newspaper or it could be hidden in a closely guarded package. Follow your instinct if something strikes you as not right.

Don’t do anything drastic until you have enough personnel to help.

Develop policy & protocol

In your neighbourhood, liaise with local leaders about implementing policies requiring pre-planning of safety at events like minimum security and police staffing. Encourage training before events.

Communicate with event organisers too.

Tragedy at local and smaller events may be unlikely but it’s always important to be aware of the what ifs.

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