Case Studies

Security, beaches and parks

by Mark Rowe

After a year of not just reduced social interactions but to actively discourage social and physical engagement, it will be a shock to many when we finally return to busy crowds and environments. Event organisers will have to be even more vigilant when it comes to mitigating human incidents, particularly those related to consumption of alcohol, such as violence, excessive drinking and anti social behaviour – or underlying mental health issues that may have been exasperated by conditions in lockdown.

So says Paul Manson, G4S Events Regional Head – North, from the event security and stewarding arm of the multi-national security contractor. You can read more from him, and Joanne Burke, Operations Manager for G4S Events in Scotland, on the G4S website.

Mark Rowe takes that theme in two ways – first; how some people are already taking the chance to get out and enjoy spring sunshine, and use public parks, and beaches. However, some are not using them responsibly; and widespread reports from Nottingham, Cardiff, Edgbaston in Birmingham and Edinburgh, to name only cities, are of breaches of coronavirus social distancing guidelines, anti-social behaviour such as littering, and outright crime.

In Glasgow, Kelvingrove Park (pictured) has long been a place to stroll and sit. Last year saw mass gatherings in spite of covid social-distancing restrictions, public drinking and urination, littering, and disorder, including assaults on police officers. The April sunshine likewise already brought out crowds to the park. Last summer, the council which runs the park brought in ‘managed access’ and it plans the same this summer, whereby access will only be at seven gates. There community enforcement officers and police will ‘engage’ with anyone wanting to enter the park. If anyone looks like breaking park rules – notably, no possession or drinking of alcohol – they will be refused entry.

George Gillespie, Executive Director at Glasgow City Council, said: “Kelvingrove Park is a fantastic asset for Glasgow and it must remain a safe place for everyone who wishes to visit. Unfortunately alcohol- fuelled disorder has caused fear and alarm in the past, but last year’s intervention to stem alcohol from being consumed in the park made a big difference.

“Having enforcement officers and police waiting at a limited number of entrances to prevent alcohol coming into Kelvingrove helped to make a visit to the park a far more positive experience. This year we will only be limiting the number of open gates when we have to.

“But if we have reason to believe large numbers will gather we can move quickly to have staff waiting at entrances to remind visitors of our park rules that indicate alcohol is not welcome in Kelvingrove.”

As for what tools police have, against anti-social behaviour, before or during the covid pandemic, they commonly issue section 35 dispersal orders, under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the same law that made PSPOs (public space protection orders). But as the story so far of PSPOs and other orders has shown so far – they last for up to three years, set by councils, and many have been renewed – it’s one thing to make an order, another thing to enforce them to actually halt the unwanted behaviour, typically littering, drinking and urinating in public, begging on-street, and dog fouling.

For second theme, of securing football, visit https://professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/what-is-it-about-football/.

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