Venue security high on the agenda at mia Conference

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) will be addressing the issue of venue safety at its forthcoming conference, as it urges the sector to avoid complacency in light of recent European terrorist attacks.

Speaking at the conference on 20 March, former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and global security expert Bob Quick, alongside hospitality and events consultant Bridget Baker, will be discussing safeguarding and security, and the impact of terrorism and crime on travel, tourism, events and the hospitality sector.

The full day conference, entitled ‘Don’t stop… rethink’, will take place at Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury and encourage the meetings, conference and events industry to take the lead and make the most out of the current economic situation, while empowering and equipping delegates with the tools to act on the commercial insight offered by the numerous sessions.

Addressing how everyday venues can be severely affected by security breaches, CEO of Bluelight Global Solutions Bob Quick will outline the context of global security risks in relation to crime and terrorism, and how it can unpredictably impact upon the UK MICE industry and vulnerable venue businesses. With over 30 years of experience as a UK police officer specialising in counter terrorism amongst several other public safety roles, Quick will identify valuable steps venues can take to reduce security risks, uncovering how venues can strike a balance of ensuring security is robust whilst remaining a welcoming and friendly place to visit.

The current international terrorism threat level in the UK is severe, and this has been the case since 2014. Due to the effectiveness of both the UK’s security and police services, the nation has been shielded in a way its European neighbours have not, and so the risk may not always feel so real to venues.

While the relatively low number of terrorism incidents in the UK is positive news, it does raise  the potential for venues to allow minor lapses in security to go unchecked as they don’t feel at risk – giving criminals and terrorists an opportunity to exploit. It is therefore of paramount importance to integrate all security provision, including physical, technical and human elements, to maximise the efficiency of systems and to safeguard UK venues from impending threats.

Commenting on the conference, Bob Quick says: “It is highly important for associations like the mia to discuss issues of security. There is a need to drive awareness of the current and potential threats facing the industry from both criminals and terrorists, and it is important to drive home the message that there is no longer any ‘normality’ as the capabilities of terror organisations and criminals increase and their tactics continue to evolve. Events such as the mia conference provide a valuable opportunity to become educated about the current evolving threats to venues, and the security practise developments that must be implemented to combat the issue.”

 The conference’s dedicated security session will explore new imposing threats that continue to challenge the UK MICE industry. Bob Quick added: “Cyber facilitated crime is a growing trend that will be highlighted, as it continues to strike organisations on poor networks and with information security. The event industry is not immune to such dangers and many organisations are being locked down by ransomware, whereby large sums of money are being demanded to get systems back up and running effectively.”