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SPECIAL: Vetting for victory – how to keep large venues safe

Peder Berg, Managing Director of Event Advantage Solutions (EAS), highlights what makes a robust accreditation system and how such systems are increasingly vital in the battle to keep large venues safe.

The adoption of airtight accreditation systems by stadiums and arenas has never been more important than it is today. These venues bring together hundreds of thousands of individuals under one roof, often for high profile events, rendering them susceptible to attack.

Without doubt, terrorism is a major concern but it is just one of many considerations and budgetary factors that need to be addressed on a daily basis.

For stadium businesses, there is no way of avoiding employing contractors and temporary staff. But how can businesses be sure that they are trustworthy? Everyone is vulnerable to employing bogus casual staff, which turn out to be illegal workers, undercover journalists or even extremists. Stadium-style venues tend to have a high turnover of staff and it’s not always easy to build a complete personnel profile on every single employee.

Management has a legal obligation to know exactly who is in the venue 24/7.  This is where a reliable and efficient accreditation (or access control) system can play a vital role; not only by managing risk and providing robust, real time security but also by saving money, as vetting individuals can be extremely time consuming.

There are a number of approaches and a plethora of systems on the market but the challenge lies in identifying the optimum solution for each venue; likely to be an upgrade of an existing system or the introduction of a new one, depending on the available resources. As such, each system is likely to be bespoke, but let’s take a look at the key benefits and options a good accreditation system should deliver.

Password protected unique login portals are key

Each login should be tracked providing a full audit trail of data. From a data management perspective, handling many different applications from differing personnel categories e.g. sporting teams, contractors, journalists, volunteers and VIPs – each with its own unique application form – should be possible.

Uploading of identification documentation is vital

Applicants should be able to upload files easily such as passport scans, company details, or photographs with a simple browse and upload function.

Photo badges with unique barcodes are a must

This allows control and tracking of contractors, members of staff or visitors when the badge is in use. Ideally, access levels should be easily merged onto badges in colour and text.

The vetting process should be tailored to the needs of each venue

The vetting process should have several layers: a visitor accessing public areas will need a completely different vetting process than a contractor who will have daily access to sensitive corporate information.

The system should include a range of screening elements

Screening elements can include a ‘virtual holding zone’ for registrations made, which allows the security department or the accreditation team to accept, reject or request more information for people applying for access. Communication is also pivotal to this process; the system should automatically generate an email to the person registering so that they know what they need to do.

It is likely that a stadium will have a ‘black list’ of individuals and the inclusion of a facility to pre-load lists into the system means that if they apply for access they will be rejected automatically. This goes for individuals or other criteria, such as country of residence.

Operating in real-time is essential

For example, if someone has been accepted and a pass issued and then you receive intelligence on him or her, the pass can then be cancelled to prevent access even once granted. Integration with police systems is also a sensible step in order to obtain intelligence.

Keeping accurate records of all activity in the system will prove invaluable

This is especially true if an incident or a call for recourse is required. In this instance, an audit trail of all communications deployed during the accreditation process will come into its own. Accuracy at all times should be assisted by a facility to set reminders into the system to flag when you need to collect new information such as a Security Guards SIA license renewal or a VISA for an overseas worker.

A built-in vehicle access module is another useful facility to consider

This allows external users to apply for vehicle passes by registering the vehicle details (including brand, licence number and vehicle type). Once an application is made, it can be approved/rejected and assigned correct access levels and load/unload times. Not all systems incorporate this facility, but it is sensible to incorporate personnel and vehicle movement around a stadium or indeed any large venue or live event.

Ultimately, reliability is non-negotiable

Venues can’t afford to deal with system ‘down time’. The system needs to be fully operational 24/7 so going offline is not an option. The system supplier needs to be able to offer full technical and customer support service for all users within the stadium at any given time but especially during large sporting events when the threat and risks are at their highest.

 

EAS manages the registrations & accreditation for the UK Security Expo 2016, the UK’s flagship event for global end-user security, which has dedicated exhibits and speakers on major event security. To register your interest for the event, which takes place from Nov 30 to Dec 1 at Olympia, London, go to: uksecurityexpo.com