Crowded landmarks are a terror target for their symbolic power, with recent IS attacks making this disturbingly clear. In light of this, Australian National Security has declared a strategy for tackling the threat to crowded places. According to their announcement, the core of Australia’s new protective strategy is to improve the security of such places by fostering networks of information sharing and partnership among private and public sector stakeholders, generating a more sophisticated ecosystem of security. In this category of “crowded places” are sports stadia, transport infrastructure, shopping centres, pubs, clubs, hotels, places of worship, tourist attractions, movie theatres, and civic spaces.
According to this policy, owners and operators of crowded places will be able to join the Crowded Places Partnership which places them in a network with a broad spectrum of public authorities including counter-terrorism officials, police, local and national authorities, etc. Owners and operators will receive expertise from authorities on strengthening security. Additionally, the ongoing exchange of information related to threats is intended to increase the speed and flexibility of responses to threats.
To ensure maximum protective security, authorities recommend a system for what they call “layered security”, which means employing complementary security measures which reinforce each other and reduce the likelihood that any measure will fail. Additionally, owners and operators are offered a number of protective security tools including a Crowded Places Self-Assessment Tool, Crowded Places Security Audit, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Guidelines, Chemical Weapon Guidelines, and others.
Interestingly the Crowded Places Self Assessment Tool states “It is important to remember that this self-assessment needs to be conducted from the perspective of a would-be attacker; not from your perspective as to the current level of security you have at your location”. This view is in line with Panoptic Solutions Red Team Operations when conducting penetration and security testing of installations, organisations and workplaces.
Australian sports fans have already begun to experience tighter security at large sporting events. Following the Manchester Area attack in May, the Adelaide Oval limited the number of bags allowed inside and subjected fans to metal detector searches. In the same month, Melbourne stadiums considered allowing only clear plastic bags inside.
If the implementation of Australia’s new protective strategy for crowded places is successful, operators of large sporting events will be more flexible and fluid in enhancing security. “Greater security” will not necessarily equal more airport-style security checks. In its design, the strategy appears to maximise the enjoyment of crowded places while still ensuring much tighter security. Australian National Security hopes that the integration of private security entities, such as the security administration at the Adelaide Oval, national security authorities, and other contracted security firms similar to Panoptic Solutions will generate this outcome.
“Adelaide Oval Increases Security in Wake of Manchester Attack”, (May 24, 2017), ABC. Retrieved from:
“Clear Bad Rule Considered for MCG and Melbourne Stadiums”, (May 24, 2017), Herald Sun. Retrieved from:
“Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism”, (2017), Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from: