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Park Security

Destinations like Universal Orlando are obvious terrorists targets

Be alert be safe! T

Best practice for the prevention of terrorist attacks at theme parks and attractions

Theme parks and amusement parks are a soft target for any terrorist or active shooter attack, writes Professor Chris Kemp

(pictured) Here the security and crowd control expert

offers some important advice for park operators to plan

for – and hopefully prevent – those with bad intentions spoiling what should be a fun day out with the family

heme parks comprise a number of elements including rides, open parkland spaces, urbanised crowded space, transport hubs and communication networks.

They are often contained in walled or gated environments with designated ingress and egress points. These sites have have five major aspects which lend

themselves to reduced resilience; these comprise large groups of static attendees in one place, a transport hub in situ or close by, a strong internal wayfinding and communication network, an isolated fenced or barriered area and a wide audience demographic. Each one of these aspects has individual resilience needs and the way in which these needs are met is at best patchy and at worst non-existent. Bringing all five aspects into play and their complex interrelationships and integration is difficult to manage and maintain at all times as this is costly and uses a high level of resource. In this article, we will not be focusing on vehicle borne attacks but from a person borne perspective and an active shooter (firearm) delivery.

Site and topography The topography of many parks makes it easy for the terrorist or active shooter to move quickly and unseen and there are a wide range of permutations which can cause barriers to resilience. These comprise a plethora of places to use as cover, lack of deterrents including CCTV, high level search protocols or visible security access to key positions for an attack going unchallenged. By focusing on the total experience they offer to guests,

parks often reduce the level of resilience. Front end deterrents tend to be covert rather than overt and it is this balance which needs to be addressed to ensure that the covert become the alert, highlighting anything out of the ordinary or identifying unusual patterns that can be managed.

Once on site, the terrorist or active shooter is in an enclosed area which is gated and very often ringed by a fence. This makes it hard for escape and running to a turnstile may cause congestion which could attract maximum collateral damage. As well as this there is limited ballistic cover within such areas. However, the theme park is often large with many places to hide and call for assistance which helps those in difficulty. The run, hide, tell mantra focused on by counter terrorism organisations has its merits in such an environment.

Queuing and search protocols It is clear from recent intelligence that the queue, either internal or external, is a legitimate target for the terrorist and theme parks are renowned for queues. Queues to get in, to get out, for rides, concessions, toilets, transport etc. The management of queues is key and those managing them and the technologies associated with their management and safety need to be a focal point throughout the customer experience to facilitate escape or other avoidance activities.

44 The placement of concessions, the delivery of clear

wayfinding (signage etc) and the management of queues are both positive and negative elements for the aggressor and for the public. For example, wayfinding helps the public to escape but also for the aggressor to move swiftly between areas as these are well defined. The aggressor, having carried out reconnaissance, is likely

to be familiar with all aspects of the park and therefore will probably not attack from a usual perspective. They will identify idiosyncratic elements which will be different for each target. Clear search protocols are important not only as a

deterrent but also to ensure that all those visiting realise the reason for high level security and. secondly, that anyone trying to bring articles into the park which are not permitted has these removed. This adds to the peace of mind of both the public and park management.

Regularity of practice Lack of variety of working practice and similar timeframes for day-to-day activities need to be avoided as routine is a key factor in any attack. If an aggressor can find a specific period when staff are not on post or other activities that take place on a regular basis, this can be used as an opportunity. In many cases the deployment of staff in the security plan is not in line with the crowd management plan and not enough security and staff are deployed to enable the plan to be put fully into action if an incident were to take place. Interoperability with the police in the first place and fire and ambulance services in the second, must be of paramount importance in any event of this nature taking place. In many cases, a permanent emergency liaison team is either on site or able to be quickly assembled to ensure focused action if an incident takes place. Ease of access onto site for non-public must be carefully controlled and a pass system for contractors and sub-contractors applied.

Planning and monitoring Pre, during and post monitoring, is key when it comes to planning and management, checking before the park opens that everything is in place and checked before the public enter. Ensuring that the site is completely sterile plays an important part in ensuring that no issues are identified before the park opens even if this means holding the gates until staff and management are sure everything is correct. Anti-terrorist planning is important both with staff and the police, but top of the list is making sure that all pre, during


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