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Music Venue Trust criticises peer for comments on anti-terror training

By | Published on Monday 31 October 2016

Music Venue Trust

The Music Venue Trust has hit out at comments made by Ruth Henig, a member of the House Of Lords, over whether or not music venues are doing enough to provide staff with training on how to deal with any potential terrorist attack.

The ability of venues to deal with such incidents has been increasingly debated in the last year, of course, since the terrorist attacks on the Bataclan venue in Paris last November. Henig told the BBC’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ programme last week that she thinks the Licensing Act 2003 should be amended to include mandatory anti-terror training.

She told the BBC: “There are clearly a number of venues – often the larger venues, I think, but not always – who have airport-style security, who, for example, do have metal detectors, who do have very well-trained security personnel and they top up this training regularly”.

“But I think at the other end there is a tail of venues who aren’t taking it seriously”, she continues. “Who don’t co-operate, who don’t take up the offers that are made to them and where I think there are some concerns. And the issue is, how do you get to that tail of venues who are perhaps not doing as much as they should be about security?”

Henig has extra knowledge on security matters – though might also be slightly biased on the requirements of venues in this domain – because she happens to be Chair of security firm SecuriGroup, which, amongst other things, provides event and venue security services.

However, the Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd told IQ that Henig seemed to be unaware of work already underway in this domain, saying: “It is unfortunate Baroness Henig should have made such an ill-judged statement without contacting us. We would have been able to reassure her that small music venues are fully engaged with [the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism initiative] Project Griffin, which was presented at Venues Day 2016 and was warmly received by over 200 music venues”.

He goes on: “There is no evidence to suggest that music venues are averse to engage with the police or any other non-commercial security agencies when it comes to issues surrounding the safety of the public. [And] if any grassroots music venue feels under-informed about Project Griffin, Music Venue Trust is working with the Met and we are happy to supply further information”.