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Striking the Balance

Last Friday the European soccer tournament commenced with Romania against France. Many people in Canada with European ancestry will be following the games closely, some even attending a game in Europe. There are others that are deciding to stay away from the stadiums, due to the fear of another terrorist attack, specifically in France.

Unfortunately for me (being from the Netherlands), the Dutch did not qualify for this tournament. This is somewhat surprising as they did well in the last World Cup and have some of the best players in the world. Several sports journalists and psychologists have commented on this and claim that the lack of the performance by the Dutch has to do with their mental state of mind. Possibly underestimating the opponents, becoming arrogant and losing unexpectedly. After this happens, they become uncertain, start making more mistakes and play under their capacity, leading to another loss.

In the world of security, in particular, a terrorist threat, the risks can easily be under or overestimated as well. The consequence may be that there is insufficient security, putting people in potential danger. Overestimation of risk can lead to more radical measures such as cancelling games or the whole tournament. There needs to be a balance. Security experts have to identify realistic threats, lower the risk by taking effective measures and still ensure that spectators can enjoy an event, such as the European Championship.

Just days before the championship kicked off, Ukraine security services said they had arrested a Frenchman and an accomplice who were planning attacks on French targets before and during the tournament. The arrests are a reminder that the soccer tournament faces more terrorism threats than just ISIS.

One of the new risks that have been identified are drones flying into a soccer stadium crammed with spectators. The drone may be equipped with just a camera, or something more sinister such as toxic chemicals. Either way, the unauthorized flying machine would be violating a no-fly zone. Taking no chances, organizers have deployed new technology in 10 French cities to protect against unwanted airborne intruders.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Euro 2016 security chief Ziad Khoury said,”We’ve noted the general proliferation of drone-usage in society, so no-fly zones will be defined over every training ground and every stadium, and in most stadiums and for most matches anti-drone measures — which are quite innovative — will be deployed, working with the state, which will interfere with drones and take control of them if they are spotted.”

French authorities have recorded dozens of mystery drones flying over sensitive sites (mostly nuclear facilities), but also military installations and even the presidential palace. In response, the government is funding research into technology that could interfere with or jam signals that control drones, or even destroy them.

Understanding the type of security measures being taken will hopefully help ease the minds of spectators and let them enjoy the experience of seeing games live instead of on TV. Hopefully, the event will turn out to be a great spectacle with no unexpected security breach. Let the best team win.

 

 

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Trump Protection

On March 12th, CTV news broadcast footage of a rally for Trump supporters near the Dayton International Airport. A Fairborn man with a history of protesting, vaulted over waist-high metal railings, broke through two security staff and nearly got on stage near the end of Saturday’s rally. Thomas Dimassimo, 22, was arrested for disorderly conduct and inducing panic, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Nowadays, it is common for protesters to show up and provide different opposing views. In this case, a protester jumped a fence and rushed towards the podium where Trump was speaking. Within 30 seconds, 4 protection agents surrounded Trump to shield him off, while other agents grabbed the protester. This was a well-trained group of federal agents with a clear tactical mandate. Luckily there were no serious consequences, but it showed the importance of being prepared for any type of disruption.

On a completely different scale, last Friday I received a call from an old business friend who required security at their facility within 3 hours. That morning his management team had decided to terminate someone and based on earlier comments by the subject, they thought it would be wise to reach out for protection.

The demand for protection services is on the rise in the US, Canada and most other parts of the world. Local events such as violence by employees who are being terminated or reporters being harassed cause businesses to want protection by specialized security companies or law enforcement. There are many events where the risk of disruption is medium to high and organizers need to make sure that their human assets are being protected. This includes the company representatives as well as the audience. The size of the protection detail varies based on the event, the venue and the risk involved. The preparation is important as the tactics are being formulated, making it possible to ward off threats when they occur. A security specialist speaks with a client ahead of time to get the details of what is required and it is usually followed up by a site visit. From that point, a draft plan will be composed. This is often augmented with intelligence gathered through social media and open source investigations. This preparation phase centers on understanding the assets, threats, vulnerabilities and the resources and limitations. The protection can be both overt and covert and range in size for one agent to hundreds for large events.

Regardless of political opinion, all contenders should be having the right level of protection to prevent serious consequences from happening.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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