Effective security planning for events in this new era takes into account a number of factors.
Conducting a threat assessment
A threat assessment, which precedes every event, is the process by which each possible security threat is identified and resolved. Factors include the event’s location, whether it is open to the public, the sponsoring organization’s reputation and the high-profile people who will attend. We always develop a plan in tandem with a professional security firm to identify every possible threat - from gate-crashers to public demonstrations - which could be disruptive.
Screening and perimeter planning
Most events, especially those which are outdoors or open to the public, involve screening of everything: equipment, packages and people. In some cases, background checks of all expected guests may be necessary. Threat assessment also takes into consideration the perimeter of an event, which is where protesters, groupies and bystanders often gather.
Hiring professional security
Security personnel need to be specially trained to deal with many types of situations. There is a difference between merely “handling” a situation and “removing” it from the site. Professional security experts understand the importance of removing the situation when warranted, and they also know which ones should be taken care of on the spot. We prefer a security plan in which off-duty police officers make up at least half of the personnel. Off-duty officers bring street savvy to an event that can be helpful, among other things, in coordinating with uniformed, on-duty police assigned to the event.
Working with city departments
Complex events can require the coordination of five or six city departments, each with separate responsibilities. It falls to the events firm to synergize each of the departments, including fire and medical personnel, local law enforcement groups and anyone else with a responsibility for the safety and security of people attending the event. There should be emergency response and evacuation plans, and a procedure for dealing with fire and medical emergencies. Certain events require a “command center” usually operated by the event management company in conjunction with appropriate city officials.
Dealing with unexpected situations
Despite having completed a formal threat assessment, situations usually arise that weren’t expected and require immediate action. Experienced professionals will have dealt with countless “unexpected” situations, and should be able to resolve any problem with skill, grace and finesse.
The bottom line? Maintain the prestige of the event with a barely detectable and pristine security plan firmly in place.