Keeping people safe in crowded places – New Zealand’s Crowded Places Strategy

Keeping people safe in crowded places – New Zealand’s Crowded Places StrategyIt is clear, following the Christchurch attacks, that New Zealand is not immune from the risk of significant terrorist attacks. Within a year of these attacks, the New Zealand Government, via ODESC and the DPMC, published the New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  

New Zealand’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy is about “working together to prevent terrorism and violent extremism of all kinds in New Zealand, while ensuring the systems and capabilities are in place to act early and respond when needed.” 

A key pillar of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy is the just-released Crowded Places Strategy. This strategy’s purpose includes ensuring that businesses, communities and local councils have awareness and access to the tools they need to keep people safe in crowded places. You can download a copy of the Crowded Places Strategy here. 

Crowded Places are defined as ‘locations that large numbers of people access easily and predictably. They include sporting arenas; transport hubs and public transport; buildings and offices; schools, shopping centres; restaurants, hotels, theatres and other entertainment venues; community festivals and markets; houses of worship; tourist attractions; and civic spaces. Crowded places also include open spaces like busy urban streets, parks and pedestrian malls’. 

The Crowded Places strategy is intended to define a consistent approach to protecting crowded places throughout New Zealand. It introduces guidelines and tools to help owners and operators of crowded places reduce the chance of an attack occurring, and lessen its consequences, using methods that are proportionate to the threat. 

Generally, the strategy and published documentation helps owners and operators of Crowded Places to: 

  1. better understand how to Deter, Detect, Delay and Respond to an attack;
  2. conduct self-assessments of the risks of an attack at their location or event; and
  3. assess the appropriate level of protective security needed.

The government has released some very useful and detailed guides to assist businesses, communities and councils to enhance their site security. These include:

  • Self-Assessment Tool – This tool focus helps you understand how attractive your site might be to an attacker. It lists factors that attackers are likely to consider when looking for a target; 
  • Assessing Your Protective Security Tool – This document lists ten areas of focus to help you consider factors that attackers take into account when they are looking for a target. It also helps you consider how to best protect the site from attack and how to make improvements.
  • Detecting Hostile Reconnaissance – This guide provides an overview of the potential indicators and protective security measures that could be considered when developing or reviewing security plans and measures to mitigate the tactic of conducting hostile reconnaissance and rehearsals in advance of an attack against a specific target. 
  • Security Audit Tool: This document is designed for those with some security knowledge to help them: check which security matters are relevant to the type, size and risk profile of your crowded place, and its attractiveness to would-be attackers; identify any security gaps that you need to resolve at your crowded place; record the actions you plan to take to resolve security gaps. 

The key messages underlying the release of Crowded Places Strategy are that:

  1. New Zealand is not immune from terrorist attack;
  2. All New Zealanders have a role to play in keeping crowded places safe; 
  3. Owners and operators of crowded places have a particular responsibility to ensure protective security measures are in place as part of their emergency planning and health and safety practices; 
  4. Now is the time to review your site’s and organisation’s security posture, risk profile, and vulnerabilities – and to make a plan to mitigate those risks.  

The Nextro team is expert at providing solutions that enhance security at Crowded Places. These include video surveillance solutions, as well as secure building services and security operations networks supporting CCTV, access control, panic alarms, and connectivity to NZ Police. 

We have designed, deployed and currently manage security and network solutions for Crowded Places such as shopping & business precincts, hotels, restaurants, and ethnic community centres throughout New Zealand. 

If you need help with enhancing the security at your facility, or would like to discuss the type of security enhancements that you might need, please get in touch.