Anti-Terror Planning for Venues in the UK

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In the aftermath of tragic events such as the Manchester Arena bombing, the UK government has recognised the need for enhanced security measures at public venues to mitigate the risk of terrorism. The introduction of the Protect Duty, also known as “Martyn’s Law”, aims to establish a legal framework for venues to plan and implement anti-terror measures proactively.

By understanding anti-terror preparation, you can implement the core principles of anti-terror planning at your venue.

Why Anti-Terror Preparation Matters

Places where lots of people gather, like shopping centres, entertainment areas, sports stadiums and music venues, have become common targets for terrorists. These locations result in higher victim counts should an attack occur.

Without stringent protocols, such sites remain vulnerable to threats, including:

  • Vehicles used as battering rams against pedestrian crowds 
  • On-foot attackers using knives, explosives or firearms  
  • Dispersed nail bombs timed to inflict mass casualties
  • Chemical or gas attacks

While completely eliminating risks is impossible, having advanced contingency plans in place saves lives by controlling damage and enabling rapid response.

Core Principles of Anti-Terror Planning 

Adequate anti-terror preparations recognise that no single solution can prevent all attack vectors. Instead, a layered defence combining multiple approaches gives greater security.

Conducting Risk Assessments

The first critical step is undertaking extensive risk assessments focusing on three main areas:

  1. Site vulnerabilities – Evaluate your venue’s infrastructure to identify risks like insufficient set-back distances from roads to buildings, absence of capable physical barricades like bollards and crowded unscreened access points prone to bottlenecks during an evacuation.
  2. Possible attack models – Research attack tactics that are used regionally and globally to analyse the likelihood of it happening at your venue. Consider factors like venue symbolism, ease of access, performer and event controversy levels, and more.
  3. Response capabilities – Access the readiness, training and competency of in-house security teams and emergency services to respond adequately to various scenarios.

Training Security Teams

Guards and event staff are integral in preventing and responding to threats. However, without repeated skills conditioning, critical delays or mistakes occur when staff and teams face the immense pressure of an actual incident.

Your training exercises should focus on the following:

  • Identifying suspicious activity and objects based on attack models
  • Managing access checkpoints
  • Operating security technology
  • Safely ushering patrons to exits during an active threat
  • Communicating updates to authorities

Training also cultivates the confidence to make quick, independent decisions when faced with rapidly unfolding danger. Without this assurance from repeated training, staff and teams can struggle to adhere to safety processes.

Access Controls and Screening

Controlling ingress and egress remains one of the most effective tools to manage threats. By channelling people through staffed checkpoints, guards can screen for visible weapons with metal detectors, scrutinise bags and assess behavioural cues.

Implementing barriers systems like security bollards helps make sure that all vehicles have to go through these checkpoints so they can’t just speed through without being checked. In addition, regularly patrolling the venue (especially popular congregation points), storage areas and unused venues, further discourages pre-operational planning. 

Emergency Response Readiness

Despite your best efforts, some threats may still evade detection. That’s why it’s essential for your venue to prepare emergency lockdown and evacuation protocols to limit harm once attacks begin. This includes:

  • Alert systems – Staff must rapidly notify patrons of the situation using SMS, social media, visual and audible alerts and announcements. Integrate your warning processes with access control points so they can swiftly restrict further entry and exit.
  • Evacuations – Your emergency evacuation plans should include multiple routes and account for disabilities, children and medical emergencies. Clearly mark all the emergency exits and rally points to assist in orderly clearance.
  • Command centres – Equipping security hubs with cameras and phones helps facilitate monitoring and centralised decision-making. Make sure there are hubs the authorities can use as emergency HQs once they’re on-site.
  • First aid – Ensure your first aid capacity can meet mass casualty scenarios. Stage strategic medical posts with stretchers, trauma kits and defibrillators.

None of these measures offer impenetrable security alone. But collectively, they greatly increase the opportunities to obstruct, detect and respond.

Start Safeguarding Your Venue With Macs Bollards

By conducting thorough risk assessments, effectively training security teams, implementing robust access control measures, and having comprehensive emergency response plans, venues can create a layered defence that significantly reduces their vulnerability to terrorism.

For advice on integrating countermeasures like bollards and barrier systems into your venue security plan, contact the team at Macs Bollards on 0161 320 6463 or email

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