Changing Nature of Counter-Terrorism in UK Stadia and Events
Manchester United has become the first football club in the UK to appoint its own internal and full-time counter-terrorism manager.
It emerged this week that the Premier League club had recruited a former inspector from Greater Manchester Police's specialist search unit to the newly established role.
The appointment follows the club's decision to enhance its security measures at Old Trafford on match days, with vehicle checks and full body searches now in place.
United's Premier League tie against Bournemouth in May 2016 was postponed after the stadium was evacuated prior to kick off when security personnel discovered a suspicious package in a toilet. The device was later identified as a fake left behind a week previous during a security training exercise.
The club are not alone in its adoption of additional security protocols. Many sporting arenas and entertainment venues are introducing more robust safety processes to their operations following the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks when suicide bombers struck outside the Stade de France, whilst 130 people were killed elsewhere in the city.
In October 2016, SecuriGroup Chair, Baroness Ruth Henig appeared on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show and discussed the potential of counter-terrorism training being made available to staff working at public and entertainment venues around the UK. Baroness Henig said: "One of the issues I think that needs looking at is the licensing arrangements.
"The 2003 Licensing Act talks about public protection as one of its objectives, and I think one could perhaps ask questions about whether that public protection objective could be strengthened to include counter-terrorist measures."
While the UK terrorist threat level from international terrorism remains at severe, it is imperative that proper due diligence and protocol is followed during high-profile events, with best practice offered to venue employees and the public whenever and wherever possible.
SecuriGroup Operations Director – and former Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator for ACPOS – Allan Burnett QPM leads SecuriGroup's approach to event security and stewarding, covering music festivals, live concerts, political conferences and football matches.
Through the direction of security experts such as Baroness Henig and Allan Burnett QPM, SecuriGroup proactively overcomes the developing threats to national security, guaranteeing the continued safety of the communities in which SecuriGroup serves.
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