Media Solutions Manager, UBM

Author Bio ▼

Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today (SMT) in November 2000. In 2005, he received the BSIA Chairman's Award for Promoting The Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was nominated for the ASC's Imbert Prize and was a finalist in the 2012 George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute and a judge for numerous industry awards, Brian became the Editor of SMT Online in late 2008 and was also promoted to Group Content Editor for UBM Live's Security Portfolio (focusing on the IFSEC SELECT end user programme, the Security Excellence Awards, conferences and webinars). Now the Media Solutions Manager for UBM Live's Security and Fire Portfolio, Brian is actively pioneering developments in live events and digital media.
April 28, 2014

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London 2012 and the Boston Marathon: Counter-Terror Lessons for Large Events

Mo_Farah_and_Usain_Bolt_2012_Olympics_(cropped)

Photo: Steven Lewarne

A little over 12 months ago, truly shocking scenes from the Boston Marathon dominated newspaper front pages and television screens alike.

Dual ‘pressure cooker’ bomb explosions near the finishing line of this hugely popular annual event killed several innocent bystanders and injured nearly 300 on what was Patriots’ Day in the States.

Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now due to stand trial in early November having pleaded not guilty to 30 charges (including 17 charges that carry the death penalty).

Not surprisingly, this year’s Boston Marathon, staged only a week ago, was run amid many layers of pre-planned security. Specialist police units, various tactical assault teams and dedicated, highly experienced bomb squads took to the streets to safeguard all spectators, with around 8,000 steel barricades erected by the Boston Police Department alone.

Overall policing presence was doubled to 3,500 officers in order to help protect spectators and the 36,000 race participants.

Profiling of individuals is difficult when so many athletes and an estimated 500,000 spectators are involved in an event of this scale, of course. In such a scenario, many security professionals would opt for (among concurrent measures) random searches, mobile investigator squads and hardened checkpoints.

Don Randall MBE, head of security at the Bank of England, is discussing London 2012’s counter-terror operations at IFSEC International 2014. Don will take the stage at the Safe Cities Academy between 12-12.30pm on Wednesday 18 June

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Register your interest to visit IFSEC 2014 now.

When: 17-18 June 2014
Where: ExCeL, London

There was a ban on rucksacks for this year’s Boston event in tandem with robust screening at all designated checkpoints.

For their part, spectators were told they couldn’t bring containers with more than one litre of liquid and were not allowed to wear bulky costumes or anything that covered their faces.

Private security officers were on duty at all times as well as plain clothes officers, with ‘hundreds’ of surveillance cameras deployed alongside sniffer dog teams.

Stepping back in time, security for London 2012 was a resounding success. The Cross-Sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) project in particular serves as a shining example of what can be achieved with close co-operation between law enforcement agencies and the security services.

Undoubtedly, many of the lessons learned from the 2012 Olympic Games will now be taken forward for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which run in Glasgow from 23 July until 3 August. Police Scotland is in full charge of safety and security for the 20th Edition of the Games, determining to provide a mix of police officers, private security officers, stewards and military personnel covering all aspects of the security operation as part of a £90 million budgetary spend.

Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable Steve Allen is security director for the Commonwealth Games, and he’s absolutely insistent that proactive planning is the key to success.

“Police Scotland and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee have spent many months developing a programme through which we will work with the private security industry to deliver appropriate levels of security and stewarding staff,” asserted Allen. “These staff are expected to be deployed in a range of specific, targeted locations across the footprint of the Commonwealth Games, from venues and accommodation through to training facilities.”

Last November, 19 companies – including G4S, Showsec, SecuriGroup, Wilson James, Kingdom Security and AP Security – were invited to sign framework agreements to help with the security provisions at the live events.

Further information and detail around current thinking on counter-terrorism planning and awareness is available at IFSEC International 2014.

The Safe Cities Academy education programme, for example, features a presentation on the aforementioned CSSC project from Don Randall MBE, head of security at the Bank of England. Taking place between noon and 12.30pm on Wednesday 18 June this presentation will review how the CSSC can be rolled out to other large-scale events.

Later that day – from 2.00 pm-2.30 pm – the same Academy Theatre witnesses a conference session delivered by Professor Dr G Keith Still of G4S focusing on ‘Crowded Places: Safety and Terrorism Prevention’.

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