Meetings industry underprepared for terrorist attacks

The meetings and events industry is underprepared for potential terrorist attacks, says a former Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard.

Steve Gaskin, now a director at Right Angle Events, is warning that meetings and events professionals are too ambivalent to terrorism and are not doing enough to minimise the risks.

Speaking about attitudes towards terrorism within the industry, Gaskin said: “I have attended two major national and international events within the past three months. On both instances, I was not challenged by security, or I was able to penetrate a building using a fire exit. 

“Most event professionals are not even able to describe an invacuation – which is to confine people inside a building when there is a dangerous situation taking place. Yet, schools often will have a lock-down or invacuation policy, so the industry is really lagging behind and training activities need to be raised.”

The dangers of European terrorism and how risks can be minimised will be on the agenda at The Meetings Show, with Gaskin leading a seminar at 12.30pm on Wednesday 27 June.

The session will include an audit of European terrorism, an outline of what security measures can be put in place, what action should be taken during an attack, and a unique insight into how specialist terrorism police units will respond. 

David Chapple, group event director of The Meetings Show, said: “Security is of paramount importance at any meeting or event, and should never be an afterthought. The education session presented by Steve Gaskin will show attendees how taking a few simple steps can minimise the risk and ensure both event organisers and venue teams are implementing best practice when it comes to safety.”