Host City - Designing in Security


PastedGraphic-1Recent events in Paris have focussed attention towards Stadiums and how these crowded places should be protected. Thorough planning is the key, but many stadiums weren’t designed with current threat levels in mind.


When discussing security, most perceive CCTV and guarding, but those that appreciate security design understand the need for integration of physical controls, technical measures (e.g. alarms, cameras) and procedural responses applied at a reasonable cost in relation to the identified risks. Only through considering all these aspects can you have a truly effective security system and failure to appreciate these three strategic aims (physical, technical, procedural controls) could mean the design and subsequent building will be flawed.


A recent article suggested the London 2012 Games overspent on security, which is not entirely true. Security for the buildings, designed from the outset, was delivered under budget. Blast mitigations, for example, were estimated at £100,000,000. Final spend on hardening however, was reduced to 15% of that initial figure, a saving delivered through clear risk based methodology and specification throughout the design process, ensuring effective and proportionate mitigations.


This proven methodology can be retrospectively applied to existing stadiums, allowing stadium operators to fully understand the threats and associated risk to determine cost effective solutions. The benefits of having a total risk plan are that valuable resources can be focussed and the process of arriving at decisions is clearly understood. A stadium, which is unable to demonstrate a comprehensive security risk management plan, could be seen as negligent should an incident occur at the stadium.


The term risk assessment is used widely but few understand the implications of this in relation to design. The purpose is to identify what security related risks impact upon the design and the probability of those occurring, producing two key pieces of information, the Impact and Probability Guidance and the Design Basis Threats (DBTs).


In addition to the risk assessment process, which can be subjective, we’re working with Criminological theorists who have developed quantitative assessment tools using empirical crime data. This informs how the stadium interacts with current local crime trends and what crimes are most likely during the operational life of the stadium.


We hear talk of constantly evolving threats, well history shows that threat remains fairly constant but the ability of adversaries to identify and exploit weakness evolves and is where the risk assessment process should enlighten stadium operators. A stadium complex can take a number of years to build, depending upon the complexity and requirements for the use, so understanding of the current threats must also evolve during the build and implementation phase.


A current discussion in the security community is the emergence of drones in private ownership. It’s acknowledged that they pose a threat, but their impacts depend on how an adversary choses to use the technology. The question for design teams is ‘could the threat be solely dealt with in the design of physical controls?’ I would argue physical controls alone couldn’t, therefore like many security issues a multi-agency approach is required utilising layered security measures.


As part of the risk assessment the issue should be acknowledged and recorded along with the proposed mitigation measures and the agencies needed to implement these. If you get the baseline controls right, spend on security controls can be minimised and allow flexibility should the threat level rise.


Having clarified and agreed the security related risks and the DBTs that need to be physically mitigated, the design needs to clearly specify the Standards that will be used as part of the design process. In the UK we have Loss Prevention Standards (LPS), which are products tested to resist physical attack and fire events. In certain areas of the world these standards are not applied, so if your security designer is specifying them, what is the impact on the supply chain and subsequent cost of the build?


It’s not all about hardware, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a concept that has been around for years, but is often overlooked in the security design process. Also known as Situational Crime Prevention it seeks to reduce the risk of occurrence and impacts of crime and anti-social behaviour.


Returning to the point that crime is a constant, what needs to be considered is how a stadium deals with the varying types of events and how these events change the types of crime or anti-social behaviour in the local area. Does the ‘environment’ support Crime Prevention Concepts, which include; surveillance (this is both natural & technical), access control, territorial reinforcement and maintenance?


How do you apply Crime Prevention Concepts to a stadium? Understanding it’s modes of operation and the user groups are the starting point. People experience security in a number of ways and the aim of CPTED appreciation is to make compliant/target market segments attending the stadium to feel welcome and to enjoy the spaces provided, whilst making non-compliant segments unwelcome to dissuade their attendance. This should interface with the business plan of the stadium, reinforcing brand development by promoting a safe and welcoming environment for its target segments.


On a recent project, our advice has prompted changes to security control measures and how supporters are dealt with through policing, resulting in a review of the safety operation. Using the CPTED concepts the spaces are being designed to assist crowd flows through colour coding, aiding directional flow to the correct access control points and reinforcing territorial control. The design of the routes affords natural and technical surveillance allowing security and safety teams to actively monitor routes and intervene if a situation requires. This concept was used within the London 2012 Park and remains as a legacy security measure.


Security for stadiums is not just the domain of the security design consultant; all disciplines in the build contribute to shaping a design aiming to deter criminal or anti-social behaviour. Careful selection of features that will be in the public domain can greatly enhance the user experience and reduce costs while supporting the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour.


Christopher Aldous
BSc (Hons) Social Policy & Criminology (Open), CPP, PSP

Director - Design Security Ltd

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