Body scans for WA fans

The Sunday Times - - News - JOSH ZIM­MER­MAN

SPORT and con­cert fans will un­dergo air­port-style full body scans for bombs or weapons when ar­riv­ing at ma­jor venues as part of a wave of new se­cu­rity mea­sures.

VenuesWest, which is re­spon­si­ble for 13 lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Perth Arena, nib Sta­dium and Perth Mo­tor­plex, has pur­chased por­ta­ble walk-through metal de­tec­tors and is up­grad­ing its CCTV net­work to beef up se­cu­rity and help pre­vent ter­ror­ist at­tacks at sta­di­ums.

The op­er­a­tor spent $123,000 on por­ta­ble metal de­tec­tors in April and con­firmed they had been tri­alled at nib Sta­dium.

It would not say how many of the de­tec­tors had been bought, what nib Sta­dium events they had been tri­alled at, or if they were be­ing con­sid­ered for Op­tus Sta­dium.

Af­ter ini­tially ten­der­ing for state-of-the-art “pole” metal de­tec­tors last Septem­ber, VenuesWest chief ex­ec­u­tive David Ether­ton said those plans had been scrapped in favour of por­ta­ble ver­sions of the more com­mon “walk-through” de­vices.

“As a re­sult of fur­ther anal­y­sis the de­ci­sion was made to pur­sue the walk­through metal de­tec­tor so­lu­tion,” he said.

“Th­ese will be used as de­ter­mined by the risk as­sess­ment car­ried out prior to each event and used to sup­ple­ment the well-es­tab­lished wand­ing pro­gram that is im­ple­mented as re­quired.”

He said the metal de­tec­tors, which en­sure a more thor­ough scan than hand­held wands, could be de­ployed at any venue, in­clud­ing the Venues Live op­er­ated Op­tus Sta­dium, and would be moved around as needed.

“If the use of our mo­bile de­tec­tion units is re­quired as part of that risk-based ap­proach, then that will be con­sid­ered,” Mr Ether­ton said.

In the wake of the dev­as­tat­ing Manch­ester Arena bomb­ing in May last year, which killed 22 con­cert go­ers, VenuesWest en­gaged con­sul­tant GHD to con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of its se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture.

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest by The Sun­day Times to view the draft re­port was re­jected on se­cu­rity grounds.

Mr Ether­ton is tightlipped about whether the changes in­clude im­ple­ment­ing fa­cial-recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy but said there was fund­ing to “fur­ther en­hance the cur­rent CCTV net­work” at all venues.

“A com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the port­fo­lio of venues is cur­rently un­der way to as­cer­tain how best to har­den the phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture and pro­vide se­cu­rity for the venues as places of pub­lic mass gath­er­ing, now and into the fu­ture,” Mr Ether­ton said.

“There is no room for com­pla­cency and the need to con­tin­u­ously adapt to the se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment and con­sider ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to im­prove se­cu­rity and safety of the pub­lic whilst at­tend­ing sport and en­ter­tain­ment venues is a grow­ing chal­lenge.

“In­creased and con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in venue in­fra­struc­ture is es­sen­tial.”

VenuesWest has em­ployed a safety and se­cu­rity man­ager to li­aise with WA Po­lice and counter-ter­ror­ism units “dur­ing spe­cific events”.

Con­trol points at the $1.5 bil­lion Op­tus Sta­dium were set back from the edge of the venue specif­i­cally to ac­com­mo­date X-ray screen­ing, like at air­ports, and the in­stal­la­tion of those de­vices re­mains a con­sid­er­a­tion.

Pic­ture: Richard Hatherly

Ter­ror alert: VenuesWest chief ex­ec­u­tive David Ether­ton with a metal de­tec­tor at nib Sta­dium.

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