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Nightclubs and party venues are the next commercial businesses to adopt emergency preparedness methods under advice given by authorities in the event of an increase in Australian homegrown terrorism.
Australian authorities are repeatedly dealing with homegrown terrorism issues and have introduced a number of anti-terror methods in line with European and United States methods as countermeasures to predicted terror-related emergencies.
The country’s security measures have been increased in response to the Australian terrorism threat warning system which is currently sitting at ‘probable’. This level means that according to the advisory website, credible intelligence, assessed by Australian security agencies, indicates that individuals or groups continue to possess the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.
In one of Australia’s popular tourist and sporting event destinations, Queensland, party venues have been asked by police to prepare go-bags, designed to assist venue managers, first responders and police should an attack occur in, or near, a venue.
One of the area’s biggest party districts was specifically requested by counter-terrorism specialists to stock the following in a waterproof bag:
A Senior Sergeant of the Queensland Police Service making the recommendations said that not only were the contents of the bag to be utilized by venue staff in the event of an emergency, but that the bags would also assist police in resolving any terror-related emergencies.
The request comes as pressure ramps up on security in this part of Australia ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, set to commence in April this year. The Games has police devising strategies focussed on identifying potential target spots such as public areas that experience high volumes of people, more so during the sporting events.
Other nightclub owners in areas closer to the Commonwealth Games have said they have not yet been requested by police to stock go-bags, but the majority of owners agree that it is a great idea and that they should be stocking those items in an easily grabbable bag.
The secretary of the Fortitude Valley Safe Night Precinct, Simon Turner, told local news authorities that the idea for the go-bags was developed as the result of a forum discussing the risk of attacks on crowded places.
He said that while there was no imminent risk for local businesses as of yet, that “It’s better to be prepared and be aware than to be naive and ignorant”.
“At the end of the day what we want to do is in the event that something may occur we want that situation resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
One security expert differs in opinion, stating that the bags were a “random” tool based on global attack trends. DirectorDr Kfir of the National Security Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said that “one of the things that we are noticing when we’re looking at the recent spout of terror attacks is they’re less about indoor activities and they’re more outdoor activities”.
He said the bags would only work if authorities had prior knowledge of a suspected terror-related incident and believes the strategy was not being implemented anywhere else and further public awareness and security practices would be more effective.
Nightclubs in European party areas have similar strategies in place to ensure response efforts to emergencies such as terror attacks are more easily handled.