Security Plan

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Security Plan

Security Plan

Security Plan

Planning security for a special event requires a tailored approach that balances effective, non-excessive security measures against a realistic assessment of the likely threats to the event. A one-size-fits-all approach to security fails to consider the many aspects of the event that make it unique. Meeting planners are well served by obtaining a customized security plan. This article offers insight into the threats special events may face and what meeting planners can do to include appropriate security measures.

For the purpose of this discussion, special events fall into three basic categories: unique events that warrant a focus on security simply because they are so rare; events that would otherwise be considered normal, except for the unique nature of the guests or agenda; and events that are controversial or worthy of media attention. The security strategy for these types of events should address threat assessment, the components of a basic security plan (including emergency action plans), and the criteria to use when selecting a security vendor.

This issue, I will focus on threat assessment and basic security plan components. In the next issue of SRO, I will continue the discussion — focusing on protecting critical areas and formulating emergency action plans.

A threat assessment should first identify and then quantify potential risk. The goal is to separate likely threats from perceived or imagined ones. For the inexperienced planner, emotions can run high when considering possible threats, clouding rational thinking during planning stages. The experienced event security planner can distinguish the conceivable from the irrational and develop a plan that adequately addresses legitimate concerns without wasting resources on the unnecessary. Appropriate security measures offer three critical benefits: a deterrent effect that dissuades would-be attackers; preventive measures that will intercept the attackers; and emergency plans that prepare everyone to respond appropriately should an incident occur.

Effective security reassures the public without detracting from the event's image or inconveniencing attendees. To achieve this balance, event planners should select an experienced security practitioner who has diverse experience and the proper personnel to implement the security plan professionally.

Potential attackers will assess the value of an event from several different perspectives, depending on their motivation and objectives. Consider asking the following types of questions to establish the total set of possible threats and then you can begin to qualify them in terms of their likelihood and reasonableness:

Who would benefit from the failure of the event if an incident were to occur?

Who would benefit from a disruption of this event?

What interest would any groups with a history of violence or disruption have in the event as an arena to publicize their cause?

When developing a list of possible threats, pay particular attention to the extent of media coverage the event will likely generate. Threats increase dramatically when the event is high profile, so gauge the level of controversy surrounding the event along with the expected media coverage. Attendance by VIPs presents another potential source of threat that may even be independent of the nature of the event ...
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