As part of my Masters in Event Management, I completed a 15,000 word dissertation research project into event security. Now 15,000 is a bit too much for a blog post but I wanted to share some of my key findings as one of my aims were to help other event profs learn how the public see security at events and if it can be improved to further an attendees experience.
Reviewing the safety and security measures at public event spaces
The study examined the growing demand for security in public event spaces, bought on by the recent discussions surrounding the terrorist attacks in public event spaces in the UK and internationally between 2015 – 2017. I reviewed the existing literature as well as conducting my own first-hand research. It was important to note the different types of risk associated with terrorism attacks and how the perceived level of risk can alter a person’s behaviour and damage reputations. My research also highlighted terrorism being listed as the top dreaded risk globally, and security at events being the top issue amongst event professionals for 2018. Security both cyber and physical is required to be enhanced as more detailed emergency plans are put into place at all types of venues.
How the research took place
To complete the research study, it was carried out using 127 respondents from an online questionnaire. All respondents were living in the UK for the last 12 months and have attended crowded events during that time. Using Likert scale questions, the questionnaire was able to identify the populations perception of risk and their thoughts on security procedures when attending crowded events. To review the measures of safety and security the public want the Likert scale security questions were tested. The results showed there is a trend of agreement with all extensive security checks. In particular, bag checks, CCTV, Police presence and Evacuation routes where identified as being in demand by the majority of the population. It was also clear that having extensive security checks does not annoy attendees, and they prefer to spend extra time and have the checks in place allowing them to feel safe when attending an event.
Identifying the factors that contribute to a heightened perception of risk at events.
From the analysis of questionnaire results the study discovered that how high a person believes the UK’s current threat level to be has a direct effect on their risk perception at events. Those that view the country as having a low threat level are more inclined to ignore risk and have less worries about attending events. Those that view the threat level as Critical or Severe, tend to put more consideration into whether to attend events after a terrorist attack takes place and thoughts of risk and safety often concern them. It should be noted that whilst the threat level had an impact on the results for the populations associated risk, it did not affect the decision to attend events. No matter what the view on threat level, individuals still continue to attend events and seem to not be put off by the potential risk level. The majority of the population felt indifferent about attending smaller crowded events over large crowded ones as they neither agreed or disagreed with the statement, with just a small increase with those that see the risk level as critical agreeing with the statement. Overall it shows that the threat level does affect how people feel when attending events, but it does not cause enough significance to prevent a person from attending any event and people prefer to carry on attending events they enjoy.
When examining the impact of how a person’s future outlook can be affected the analysis showed their feelings towards attending events over the previous 12 months has a direct impact on their future outlook. Those that have carried on as usual attending events have a more positive outlook on the future of events, however they still believe the threat towards events has increased over the last 10 years and will increase further over the next 10 years. This shows the importance of maintaining security going forward. It can also be noted that if there was to be another attack in the UK, those that have worried less about attending events in the last 12 months will be less worried about attending them compared to those that have already altered their attendance patterns in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2017 on London and Manchester. The regularity of terrorist attacks however especially impacts all groups as they all reported being worried about attending events were there to be an increase on how often they happened.
Stay tuned for the next post in the series outlining recommendations event organisers can make to reduce risk & increase public trust in the safety procedures.