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Counter-terrorism police issue safety advice for festivalgoers

The UK’s National Counter Terrorism Policing Network has issued safety information to  festivalgoers as part of a new, UK Music-backed social-media campaign, #BeSafeBeSound.

While there is no intelligence to indicate an increased threat to festivals and live music events, the Metropolitan police’s deputy assistant commissioner, Lucy D’Orsi, says she wants the public to familiarise themselves with the #BeSafeBeSound checklist so they can play their part in keeping people safe this summer.

Additionally, police will release a series on videos on social media “encouraging festival-goers to have an amazing time, but to report anything suspicious, however small.”

“There are some huge festivals taking place in the coming months, and we want everyone to have a fantastic time,” says D’Orsi, who gave the welcome address at the second Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) last October. “Whilst we want everyone to have fun watching their favourite artists, people’s safety and security remains the top priority for police and festival organisers.

“The purpose of #BeSafeBeSound is to ensure that everyone attending these events knows they have an important role to play in the wider security operation. Everyone can help make events safe and secure by familiarising themselves with the #BeSafeBeSound advice, by reading our Run, Hide, Tell guidance and to be ready to act if they spot suspicious behaviour and activity.

“I would urge everyone attending events this summer to stay alert and follow the #BeSafeBeSound advice”

“Don’t think you might be wasting anyone’s time – it is always better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn’t look or feel right it probably isn’t, so tell someone.”

Counter Terrorism Policing’s key advice includes:

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher comments: “While it’s important to stress that there is no evidence of any increased threat to live music events this summer, it’s sensible that we all stay vigilant and follow advice.

“Festivals and live music gigs in the UK are amongst the best attended in the world and have rightly earned their reputation as well-organised events where nothing is more important than the safety of music fans.

“I would urge everyone attending events this summer to stay alert and follow the #BeSafeBeSound advice from the police to make sure everyone has a fantastic time in a safe and secure environment.”

More information can be found at www.counterterrorism.police.uk/safetyadvice.

 


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E3S 2018: Collaboration key to securing the industry’s future

The Manchester Arena bombing of 22 May 2017 was a “game-changer” from a counter-terrorism perspective, laying bare the importance of a strong private security presence to combat the growing threat to ‘soft’ targets such as concerts, said Metropolitan police commander Lucy D’Orsi, opening the second edition of the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) on 30 October.

The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner in specialist operations gave a 15-minute welcome address in which she said the Manchester attack – along with the vehicle ramming attacks in Westminster and on London Bridge in March and June 2017, respectively – proved that “anything is potentially a target; anything is possible”.

D’Orsi’s address kicked off a packed day of panels, presentations and workshops for the sophomore E3S, which boasted more than double the content of last year’s debut event. More than 300 professionals from 20 markets attended the day.

Other highlights included a speech by Lord Kerslake, author of the eponymous inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack, who presented the key findings and recommendations of his report; panel sessions on ‘Protecting the Future of Live Events’, which examined what initiatives are helping develop an international safety culture, and ‘Learning Transferrable Lessons’, which considered operations from the World Cup to state visits by US presidents to learn lessons from each scenario; and a host of talks and workshops covering security training, emergency messaging, behavioural detection, lockdown procedures and more.

Lord Kerslake described the Manchester Arena bombing – the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK since the 7/7 bombings of 2005 – as a “brutal, real-world test” of the venue’s security procedures.

The Manchester Arena bombing was a “brutal, real-world test” of the venue’s security procedures

He identified four key lessons event organisers and venues should learn from the tragedy: That his review, commissioned by mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, was “the right thing to do, and should become standard practice in future”; that “importance of partnerships” between stakeholders, as well as thorough emergency planning, “cannot be overstated”; that a “genuinely multi-agency approach” is needed in case of emergency (“even in strong partnerships, the tendency of agencies under pressure to default to a single-agency way of working is extremely strong,” he explained); and that however good those plans are, “the reality will be different. There is no substitution for good situational awareness and discretion.”

As terrible as the attack was, Lord Kerslake concluded, had it taken place ten minutes later – when more young fans were exiting the arena – the outcome would have even worse. “We cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.

A key theme of the E3S 2018 was the importance of openness among stakeholders and the ability – and will – to share crucial information.

The O2 head of operations Danielle Kennedy-Clark said the live events industry needs to get better at sharing data with each other. “As a venue,” she commented, “we have a very close relationship with local authorities and other stakeholders […] but I do still feel a lot of the time security is seen as a big secret. We’re getting better but there’s still a long way to come.”

Tony Duncan, who works as tour security director for artists including U2, Madonna, Rihanna and Sir Paul McCartney, said the events security landscape is currently “fractured at best”, tending to “react to big events”. The industry could, he suggested, benefit from “formalis[ing] procedures across the board”.

“A lot of the time security is seen as a big secret”

One popular presentation at E3S was a preview of the new Green Guide, given by Ken Scott of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. Scott also spoke about how his organisation, formerly the Football Licensing Authority, was formed after the Hillsborough disaster to “sit over the top of all those competing commercial entities [football clubs] and take the best bits of each, which you [the entertainment industry] don’t have”. “Maybe you need something similar,” he said.

The SEC’s Jeanette Roberts, a former inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), suggested there could be an HSE-style government agency to set security standards industry wide. With HSE, she explained, “what they did was reach out to the industry for their knowledge – it was a brave step for the agency to go and say, ‘We need your help’.”

From a police perspective, D’Orsi concluded by saying it’s a long-term police goal to share as much information on threats as possible with venues and private security companies. Addressing delegates, she said: “Many of you represent iconic locations and events which are often broadcast live – and if you look at the propaganda put out by ISIL [Islamic State], Al-Qaeda and other groups, you are attractive targets.

“There will be less policing at live events in future – but the ambition to share as much as we can with you is very strong, and I’m confident we will achieve that.”

 


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‘This will help London thrive’: Met axes form 696

London’s Metropolitan police is to abolish form 696, the controversial risk-assessment document critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan.

Following a review process, which included consultations with local authorities, venues, the Musicians’ Union, London Promoter Forum and the Institute of Licensing, the Met announced today it is to abolish the form – which it acknowledged was perceived to “disproportionately affect” certain genres of music – in favour of a “new voluntary partnership approach” with venues and promoters in the city.

Form 696, introduced in 2005 in response to a number of shootings at club nights across London, requires potential licensees to list performers’ and promoters’ names, addresses and phone numbers, the style of music to be performed and the event’s target audience. It is the requests for information on genre and audience that are particularly controversial, with critics accusing the police of racial profiling by singling out primarily black musical styles such as grime, garage and bashment.

Ticketmaster’s latest State of Play report, which focuses on grime, revealed more than half the British general public believes the form to be discriminatory.

Half of UK population say form 696 is discriminatory

“It is clear that in recent years the landscape of the night time economy in London has changed, and thankfully we have seen a reduction in serious incidents at promoted music events, particularly those involving firearms,” says Met superintendent Roy Smith. “We have also been working in close partnership with the music industry and others to raise standards of safety in venues and at events.

“We have taken the decision to remove form 696 and instead develop a new voluntary partnership approach for venues and promoters across London. This will provide an excellent opportunity to share information at a local level and work to identify any enhanced risk to ensure the safety of the public.”

“This decision will … ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan – a notable critic of form 696 – adds: “Developing a night-time economy that works for everyone is a key priority of mine, but it’s also vital that live music events in London take place safely. I called for a review of form 696 earlier this year because of concerns raised by promoters and artists in the capital that this process was unfairly affecting specific communities and music genres. […]

“This decision will help London’s night-time economy thrive, ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres and that Londoners are able to enjoy live music safely.”

He also praised the work of night czar Amy Lamé in securing the form’s repeal, saying that, “by bringing together the Met and representatives from across the city’s legendary grassroots music industry, we have shown why having a night czar is so important for London”.

“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry”

Industry umbrella group UK Music also welcomed the decision to scrap form 696, with chief executive Michael Dugher commenting: “This is fantastic news. UK Music has campaigned to get rid of this unpopular restriction on our diverse and vibrant music scene.”

“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry.” 

“We thank him for showing leadership on this important issue and ensuring that the London remains a world beater when it comes to our cultural music mix.”

 


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