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Cup Security Needs Highlight Review Of Resourcing

22 November 2006

Rugby World Cup Security Needs Highlight Review Of Resourcing

With just five years until New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup, a strategy for meeting daunting security requirements must be put in place now, a security industry leader says. And the job can’t be done by Police alone.

Speaking at the New Zealand Policing Symposium in Wellington today, the Chairman of the New Zealand Security Association, Scott Carter, noted that at such mega-events as the Rugby World Cup, police services are invariably under resource pressures due to normal community and law enforcement commitments.

“Large sports events, in particular, contain the potentially explosive mix of crowds, high emotion and alcohol. They can also be soft targets for extremist groups. Policing such events is challenging, whether simply limiting unruly behaviour or ensuring the public’s safety in the face of a mass protest, fire or terrorist attack,” Mr Carter said.

But it’s not just at sports events that limited police resource is an issue.

The solution to the dilemma, he suggests is “networked policing”.

“Police forces around the world face common problems of budgetary constraints, limited resources, intense public scrutiny and high public expectation.

“Whether consumer-driven, media-driven, or factually linked to objective indicators of rising crime rates and highly publicised policing failures, the perception remains that government-provided services are failing to give the public the reassurance that they seek,” Mr Carter said.

“With the growth of security firms at least equal to (and often far greater than) any increases in police per capita numbers, the obvious innovation is the privatisation of some police functions. Just as in health and education, public demand for protection is increasingly being supplied by the market.

But, Mr Carter warned, at present, security industry legislation, licensing and enforcement are hopelessly inadequate and the government needs to recognise the urgency around addressing this.

As a profession, Mr Carter believes the security industry can add huge value to New Zealand communities through the strength of its relationship with the Police.

“As a country, we need to recognise that networked policing is already here; review security industry legislation in concert with the review of the Police Act and formalise partnerships between police and accredited security businesses.

“There are obvious differences between state law enforcement and private enterprise, but our goals are the essentially similar to those of the Police. When it comes down to the detail, both public and private police have a singular focus on making our communities safer by reducing crime,” Mr Carter said.

“When thousands of people from around the world attend the World Rugby Cup events in this country, we want them to be confident their safety is in the hands of trained, licensed professionals.”

ENDS

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