The terrible attack in the Manchester Arena should have been a wake-up call to anyone in the festival business. Looking at the audience type at the Ariana Grande concert should tell you all you need to know about terrorist motives. They don’t care who they attack. The Arena was full of children and young people watching their music idol entertain them. Sound familiar?
It’s always festival season somewhere and, except for COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s hard to think of any event more likely to damage the festival industry than a terror attack. The threat isn’t going away so we need to start assessing the potential of terrorist threats on any festival taking place.
Doing a terrorism threat and vulnerability assessment will throw up gaps that should be closed
If you haven’t heard of The Protect Duty before now, you will soon. There is nothing in the proposed legislation for Protect Duty that is onerous, it is all about deterring terrorists from attacking your festival, detecting them should they try and responding in the right way if an attack takes place.
The methods terrorists use are evolving. From the traditional bomb in a backpack, we are now sadly familiar with their ability to utilise drones or create interference with vital information and communication systems. With more avenues for attack, and in many cases the importance of the insider threat to many of these tactics, it is important to fully understand your vulnerabilities and work to ensure they are minimised through enhanced security measures that include effective accreditation systems.
The festival industry is brilliant at planning. Festivals need to be able to turn a field into a fully functioning venue with a stage, car parking, catering, sanitation and everything else that is required. What can’t be forgotten in this is the security element to it all. When we talk about security it is easy for people to think about CCTV, fences and other physical barriers to stop those who shouldn’t be granted access. But there are other tools available that could be instrumental when it comes to Protect Duty and the overall security of a festival.
Accreditation is more than just badging. When done correctly Accreditation can play a pivotal role and provide the additional security and support needed. Systems these days allow for the collection of important information like the right to work. They can also integrate with criminal databases and when combined with all the other information provide a complete overview of who you are granting access to work at the festival.
When you add in the functionality of zoning, ensuring only those with a reason to be in each zone has access to them, you end up dramatically reducing the insider threat.
The Threat isn’t going away
The terrorism risk to festivals is not going away. As it continues to evolve, it creates more difficulty for the industry to argue that such attacks are not foreseeable nor, should such attacks occur, that additional pre-emptive defensive actions weren’t necessary, reasonable or appropriate under the circumstances.
The important thing is reasonableness. Have you considered the threats and risks and taken reasonable action to mitigate the likelihood of an attack taking place. And this is the key part, do you have all the systems and processes in place that you need to achieve this, from a physical perspective to data and information?
If you would like to know more, read our whitepaper on the subject, simply follow the link below.