‘Vigilance continues to be required’: Industry reacts to London Bridge attack

The industry is urging vigilance in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack.

Three people were killed (including the attacker who was shot dead by police) and three injured in the terror attack at an event at Fishmongers’ Hall on Friday 29 November.

Members of the industry have responded to the security concerns raised by the attack, which have been circling in the industry for some time.

Dale Parmenter, group CEO of DRPG, said: “It was a terrible incident and even though we provide crisis training to all our team members to support them in actioning and handling a situation like this, you need to be responsive in the moment.

“Making sure everyone has the skills and knowledge to be able to know how to action and what steps to make. With this particular incident, it just makes you need to be even more vigilant and increase security which could mean using suppliers who specialise in this, rather than trying to cover yourselves. It is imperative that everyone is fully trained as these types of scenarios don’t seem to be going away.”

Leigh Cowlishaw, managing partner of Black Box Partnerships, said: “I think the tragic circumstances that took place on Friday at Fishmongers’ Hall are unique. While in some cases we don’t always know fully who are on delegate lists or checking into our hotels/apartments; we shouldn’t in our industry rush to make any knee jerk decisions based on a complex, one off event.

“Vigilance continues to be required whether a guest, delegate, organiser, speaker, moderator or team member. Look out for you, each other and those around you.”

Anita Lowe, CEO of Venues and Events International, said: “On one of our recent events we unfortunately had a bomb scare – it thankfully turned out to be totally innocent but the response from the venue we were at was sadly lacking – our event managers had to take charge of the situation and implement our own crisis procedures (written in collaboration with one of our clients, an industry leading lubricants business) including calling the police.

“Hopefully this tragic incident in London will come as a wake-up call to venues and agencies alike that they not only need to have policies in place, but they need to be rehearsed, revised and known inside out – words on paper is no good when it comes to an emergency.”

Steve Gaskin, director of Right Angle Events and former Scotland Yard detective, described the attack as “an absolute tragedy for everyone involved”.

“These types of attacks are so challenging for non-police teams to be able to predict and accommodate for. As budgets are tightened all the time, security is often something that gets missed or reduced for conferences and events, particularly when the perceived threat is reduced.

“Nothing can prepare you for this sort of incident, however, we do have some key advice to give organisers. Planning and collaboration is the key.

“It’s key that venue and event staff know what to do in an emergency, make sure they have been given training. Liaise with head of security at the venue (If there is one ) As event organisers we need to work with venues to create an emergency plan prior to the event. Give consideration to the first aiders at the venue having extra understanding of how to deal with stab/gunshot wounds.

“Assess the risk and make choices. Events in busy city centres are more likely to be targeted than say a remote country house hotel. Some venues are particularly familiar with security- if they are already working with political, government or security companies. It is better to think of all scenarios than to be caught off guard.”