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Best practices: civil disturbances

From the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security:

Civil disturbances
and public protests are becoming semi-regular parts of sporting or
entertainment events. Many groups with varying causes are putting their
platforms in the public view through large gatherings that draw significant
crowds. The groups want to be heard and seen so that they can then spread their
beliefs and inform others that may not be aware. These demonstrations can range
from very mild and tame to the other extreme of pushing to the edge of a riot.

As an event manager
there is a need to pre-identify and recognize when there is a potential for
these protests or demonstrations to take place at your venue. Along with
identifying the potential for the demonstrations, there is then a need to put
in place policies, procedures, and other systems to control or monitor the
situations as they develop. There is a need to be proactive to handle the
situations as effectively and efficiently as possible.

While many of the
protests or different activism groups are not directly related to the event,
there are many different ways to stay informed and proactive. Some of the ways
include:

• Leveraging social
media for situational awareness

• Work with fusion
centers and local authorities to improve knowledge of individuals and groups
participating in protests

• Engage with campus
student organization(s) and Dean of Students to learn more about the protest
and the protesters

• Build relationships
with students and protest leaders prior to the protest

• Explain boundaries
and establish expectations • Gain knowledge on the purpose or cause

• Train public safety
staff on de-escalation techniques.

Being proactive with
the various techniques will allow for more effective control of each
demonstration. One of the key techniques is setting the boundaries and
expectations for each group. These boundaries should be written into a policy
and stay consistent with all groups. The need for consistency will reduce the
possibility of various groups feeling like they aren’t receiving the same
opportunities as others. After the expectations have been given to the groups this
will allow for the demonstrations to potentially be shut down if the Code of
Conduct is not followed. This Code of Conduct could be something that is
already in place for the event and shared with individuals not familiar with
the policy. Should something like a field/court/stage incursion occur by one of
the individuals, venue security should take action that is consistent with the
venue intrusion policy. The ability to stay consistent with policies will
reduce other backlash after events.