UKCMA Chairman Mark Harding Reflects Upon Summer Event Security

UKCMA chairman Mark Harding has responded to suggestions in the Event trade magazine that the army should provide security for future live events.

“The UKCMA is politically neutral. We are not here to denounce any party, member, or organisation. It is not appropriate for UKCMA to comment on the delivery of an individual contract. Each company made an independent decision about the commercial suitability of the contract.

“It is more valuable to focus on the positive achievements of the industry throughout the games period and reassure the wider industry that there is a highly professional event security sector with an impressive capability to manage the safety of crowds at live events. The numbers of parallel events running through the summer far exceeded the games contract and those events were delivered highly successfully and UKCMA members played a significant role in that success.

“It is possible that the image and capability of the industry has been temporarily damaged. It’s up to the industry to send out positive messages about the phenomenal achievements during the same period. There are some startling statistics produced by UKCMA members, they delivered successful safe and secure environments at over five thousand events throughout the UK during games time, including central London and at large scale parallel Olympic events. In excess of twenty million people attended these events.

“There’s a history of armed forces having a presence at events, which provides the public with assurance against terrorism. There were a raft of cohesive safety measures, beyond the capabilities of a crowd management company, which played a significant part in delivering safe events throughout the games period. Commercial organisations do not have the extraordinary spare capacity, financial investment and resources available as is unique to the forces. The role of the forces should remain national security. There is a vast difference between national security and safety at public events and places of entertainment.

“Confidence in our contractors and within the industry remains high. Post games, contractors may demand more value when negotiating with their security providers, but we believe that this is driven more by economic austerity. Our experience is that our contractors, whether they be venues, public bodies, corporate organisations or festivals, already demand good working relationships, undertaking close contract management. UKCMA members respond positively to requests for assurances and accountability.

“There is a collective desire within our membership to strive to deliver progressively higher standards of event security and we will continue to engage the wider industry and influence legislation where possible for the good of the wider industry.”