Top four security hazards at Coronation as crowds start to gather
A crowd management expert who was involved in the planning of six Olympic games explained to Express.co.uk the main four risks the authorities would be looking out for. The King’s Coronation is set to attract over one million people to the streets of London today. The sheer number of people brings with it several hazards. Just three days ago, the British Counter Terrorism Police urged people to stay alert across the country during the Coronation.
But according to leading crowd management expert, Paul Foster, terrorism isn’t the only hazard that the authorities will be looking out for. He said that although Britain was “probably the best in the world” in terms of event planning, there are still some hazards that could threaten the harmony of The King’s big day.
Mr Foster has been an advisor for police commanders and Interpol at a series of major international events, including the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
He said one of the most overlooked hazards was having such a wide variety of cultures packed together in one place.
“Things can escalate quite quickly,” he said. “This is one of the big changes in crowd behaviour over the last year.”
He warned any panic or fear generated among the crowd could create a very serious threat of a crowd surge. The expert said a loud bang could trigger US people to overreact, as “if you’re in the US, quite often people will assume the noise is an active shooter in the area” while Brits will “stop and pause and look around”.
Mr Foster added: “There was a case in the US a couple of months ago, where one of those like sandwich boards in a shopping mall, and it sounded just like a gunshot.
“Loads of people fled for the people falling down escalators of coffee. A lot of people heard it, and they started to run for the exits.”
There has also been a lot of speculation about whether Just Stop Oil or other disruptive protest groups will strike the Coronation procession.
Mr Foster said it’s inevitable these protests will occur but that the authorities will be working hard to keep them from being disruptive.
While Mr Foster remains confident in security preparations for the Coronation, he warned terrorism was a real threat.
He said: “[For the security teams] it’ll definitely be one of the top focuses because of the scale of the event and it being watched by people all over the world.”
The Counter Terrorism Police released a statement on Wednesday, reassuring people who planned to celebrate the Coronation.
Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare, Laurence Taylor, said: “We know lots of people are planning to enjoy the Coronation weekend up and down the country, and what we want is for everyone to be able to do so safely.
“There are extensive measures in place to mitigate risk and monitor the terrorist threat against the backdrop of an historic moment, both nationally and internationally.
“Please help support us by staying alert and trusting your instincts if you see something that doesn’t feel right – it is never a waste of time to report your concerns or speak to security or police.”
If you’ve seen or heard something that could potentially be related to terrorism, trust your instincts and report it at www.gov.uk/ACT
You can also speak to your local police force by calling 101 or submitting information online.
Always call 999 in an emergency.
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