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Commissioners Learn About Planning Safe Events

May 23, 2005 – Some police commissioners at Carambola Beach Resort during the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police conference were getting specific information when a presentation was made on the Cricket World Cup Monday.
World Cup tournaments will be played on nine Caribbean islands in 2007. (One is not being played in the Virgin Islands.)
V.I. Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said this was the first time some of the commissioners from island where the tournaments will be held had a chance to exchange perspectives with officials representing the International Cricket Council.
He added the presentation was good also for other commissioners because the information and experience shared could be helpful in holding other safe, secure major events, besides sporting events.
Paul Slaughter, head of security for the Cricket World Cup, went over how his group planned to try and make events free from tragedy.
He also told tales about when plans were not comprehensive enough. He said a major soccer match he was involved with was being played in a stadium that held 65,000 people. He said only 7,000 pre-event tickets had been sold and about 78,000 people showed up right before the match to buy the remaining 58,000 tickets. A riot ensued and 47 people died. He said pre-event ticket sales are important.
He also said that when figuring what capacity an event can accommodate officials must include staff and vendors in the number because that number is significant.
He said a major concern at any event is the liquor policy. He jokingly called it "the acceptable level of inebriation of the stadium." He described a cricket tournament in a way that might appropriately describe some Caribbean carnival events. He called it "a six-hour, beer-drinking session in the sun."
He said some measures that can help avoid drunken brawls is that alcohol not be allowed to be brought into the venue, and charging security staff with the right to shut down alcohol sales. He said that during a day-long event, if the bars are shutdown for an hour, it makes people put some food inside themselves to absorb the alcohol they have drank.
Another concern he thought event planners should consider is having a "traffic-free zone" around the venue during the event. He said, "No Coca Cola trucks should be making deliveries."
He said, even during pre-event service, traffic of caterers should be strictly monitored and limited to only those trucks absolutely necessary.
He added that "spotters" in the crowds, and volunteers at gates can contribute to a security force stopping an incident before it gets out of control.
He summarized his approach saying the security at an event should be holistic – combining attributes of safety and security – should be proactive, and should enhance the experience of those attending.
Tuesday is the last day of the police commissioners conference at Carambola. Remaining sessions include the Social Impact of Tourism, Implementing the International Maritime Organization Standards, and Safety, Security, and Health Initiatives in the Cruise Ship Sector.
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