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 Security Ideas To Protect Places of Worship From Terrorist Attack


Introduction

The right-wing extremist terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand Mosque on Friday 15th of March 2019 will change the way ‘security for places of worship in New Zealand, Australia and around the World would be looked at.

In this blog, place of worship means Churches, Synagogues, Mosque Gurdwara, Temples etc. Terrorist attacks (like in Christchurch) tend to have a reverberating effect. You may find other right-wing extremist trying to replicate similar terrorist act, or you could see other religious terrorist group trying to retaliate and take revenge on other places of worship.

The aim of this blog is not to create fear, panic or division; the goal is to draw the attention of managers or overseers of the various place of worship of the current need to improve security around there facility.

Before I proceed any further if you require funding to provide security at your place of worship in Australia, the government is able to provide free community safer funding for your place of worship in Australia, Please visit business.gov.au for more details

 

Also, check out these important articles/blogs:

Security For Places of Worship

Security Guards

One of the ways to beef up security around the place of worship will be to contact the best security companies to provide round the clock security guard presence. Or you could have security officers deployed to man/patrol your facility two days before your specific religion day of worship and one day after.  You may also choose to follow the National Counter Terrorism Threat System of your Country and decide the right time to hire private security guards.

If you are in Australia, here is a Link, to National Counter Terrorism Advisory System.

Also, have a look at our residential security blog.


 Important Tips to Prevent Terrorist Attack 

Police

I like to mention that liaising with local police regarding the security/safety of your religious facility and followers is one important step to take, before contracting a security company to provide security guards to look after your place of worship.

CCTV

Installing CCTV cameras outside and inside your facility is also very important. Because there is a likely hood you might get hate inspired extremist wanting to vandalise your religious ground; especially if your place of worship is situated in a neighbourhood that has a significant number of intolerant individuals.

Security Guards

Back to the hiring of security guards; once again if you have any immediate concern about a threat or safety issue for your worshipers or place of worship, I will advise you ring ‘000’ or contact your local police and make a report.

Hiring of security guards is essential because the physical presence of security officers patrolling your religious place of worship makes your congregant feel safe. Also sends a message to anyone planning to disturb or attack your sacred site that they are being watched and would possibly get arrested and face prosecution.

facility security melbourne

I will add a piece of further advice; before you engage security companies to provide security for your place of worship; inquire if they could try and include as part of the team, at list one security personnel who identifies with your religion or place of worship. The purpose of this particular request is to help the rest of the security team deployed to look after the place of worship, navigate smoothly and educate the team on any religious sensitivity!

That single security guard could also help explain any sacred religious practices and response to the rest of the security team, so no security officer ends up offending or desecrating the client place of worship or faith.

In a situation where the security services provider might not find a security guard who has similar faith as the place of worship; I would recommend the religious institution to nominate one of their members to liaise and consult with the security company and the security guards.


 

Car Park: This particular security advice will be focused on strategic planning,  build and design.  There have been so many occasions where terrorist have used vehicles that are packed with explosives for their terrorist attack. One such example was the first terror attack on the 21st of February 1993 on the World Trade Centre in New York.

There have been so many such examples, from Nigeria, Iraq, to Afghanistan, where the terrorist preferred method of causing a maximum casualty, is to use a motor vehicle with as many tons of explosive as possible.

                    Strategy

If your Church, Mosque, Synagogue or Temple has already been built, and you are only looking to improve the security of your place of worship against any possible terrorist attack. Then it is important that you create a strategic car park allocation system.

A system where, all worshiper’s that will be using your car parks, during worship or functions days with a large number of people, will be allocated parking tickets.  Before such tickets are allocated, each vehicle owner would have to register with the place of worship, indicating the kind vehicle that will be parked.

Make sure all the details of the persons that would be driving each car is also collected. Always give priority to such parking arrangement to regular members of your religion. Often, it is strangers who are likely to attack a particular place of worship than members of that specific place of worship.

Vehicles that are not registered to park should be advised to park as far away as possible from your place of worship. Also, don’t forget to give them forms to fill if they are planning to park their cars inside your car park in the Future.

Make sure,  vehicle registration and drivers details are current and can be officially verified. So you avoid being issued false information.

You can choose to implement this system yourself or seek an expert car park or security company to assist you with this strategy and its implementation.

Car Park Design

It is crucial when building your place of worship that the car park is constructed strategically, with the security of your congregant, faithful and the place of worship in mind. The world is fast changing, and terrorist will try to focus their attacks on places of worship.

When building your car parks, the further it is from worshipers the better. Try and avoid making your car parks beneath or above the auditorium. If possible, it should be detached from the main building. The reason is, to protect the central place of worship from being impacted by possible explosion and projectiles.

Vehicle Movement

Only registered and authorised vehicles should be allowed to drive closer to the place of worship. Preventing unknown or hostile vehicle coming close to where a large number of people are gathered should be your goal.

Metal Detectors: This is one of my favourite devices ‘metal detectors.’ Metal detectors could be handheld ‘ Wand,’ or they could be Entry Doors designed or some to mentioned later.  One of their primary purposes is to scan every patron, congregant, faithful entering the place of worship, to make sure they don’t have any prohibited metals on them. Such metals could be knives, guns or other dangerous weapons that could be used by terrorist to inflict maximum carnage.

Airports often have such devices, and stadiums often deploy held Wand to prevent dangerous weapon being brought into the airport or stadiums. Your place of worship can also invest in such security technology; most especially if you are located in a place, you suspect terrorist could be operating.


Bag Pack: Watching one of the Sri Lankan terrorists attackers entering a church with a bag pack filled with explosive, led me to include this. A school bag pack filled with amateur made explosives could cause a devastating carnage on any place of worship, just like what we saw in Sri Lanka.

Most places of worship, are a place of friendship, a place that welcomes strangers and foreigners. But it has turned out that most terrorist attack on places of worship has been carried out by strangers. So I am sure a lot of places of worship, will find it had to implement a lot of the security advice that we have compiled because it will be conflicting with their religious belief and limiting their heart of friendship and compassion to strangers!

But as a security expert, I will advice- ‘ what good will it be,’ if you bring in congregant, patrons and faithful into your place of worship and you fail to protect them?

Advice your congregants, patrons and faithful, not to attend with bag packs, suitcases etc. And if anyone will be coming with one, they should notify your place of worship, and it must be inspected in a safety zone.

In a situation where a stranger, shows up with a bag pack; courteously deny them entry and show them your entry policies. If you don’t have an entry policy, please design one.

External Lockers

I will advise you to provide external lockers, that could be used to store a bag pack. I am not advocating for bag pack to be brought to your place of worship. But just in case an individual shows up with a bag pack, you can provide them with an area of storage after scanning them.

Also make sure the lockers are far away as possible to the main auditorium, to avoid any possible explosion and projectile reaching your patrons.

Explosive detectors: A few years ago, no one would have imagined Explosive detectors will be recommended for a place of worship.Because most people flock to a place of worship; because it provides them with peace of mind, a sense of community, a place of self-reflection and so many other good reasons.

Sadly things have changed, with a spate of a terrorist attack against places of worship as a counter-terrorism measure or security advice for a place of worship. I will recommend a few Explosive detectors technologies.

Also, you can watch a few video footage that I have attached, and you can also do further research and see which Explosive detection technology will best fit your particular place of worship.

Reveal Explosive Detection System

This particular technology doesn’t come small or cheap, but it could be a good fit for a significant place of worship; to be used to scan patrons bags. One of the reasons I recommend this particular explosive detector, it’s the unique tunnel design it has got, and the long distance the bag, the suitcase has to go through to be scanned.

Fido x3 Hand Help Explosive detection

Fido x 3 hands held explosive detector, is portable and easy to carry. There is an unverified claim that it is ‘ the best and most effective handheld explosive detector.’ But it looks impressive, can be used to detect quite good varieties of explosives.

I believe this particular device would be a good fit in a place of worship; especially when it comes to detecting terrorist who may be wearing explosive jackets, belts or bag pack.

Also, check out the following Explosive detection technologies.

SRED-1 handheld explosive detector

CIP-300 for vehicle inspection

Bomb Sniffer Dogs

Vehicle  Bomb Jammer:  The bomb jammer, is often used as a vehicular VIP escort explosive or bomb jammer. From a personal view, I believe it is a very impressive IED jammer technology.

It works by creating a kind of a radar protection zone around a specific area, convoy it is programmed to protect. So when a terrorist tries to use a remote or mobile trigger to activate an explosive, it jams the remote or cellular signals. And the IED doesn’t go off.

Such technology is installed in a motor vehicle, but I think it can also be used by stationing the Bomb Jamming vehicle within the proximity of your place of worship, as extra security and counter-terrorism measure.

Terrorism Has No Religion

Terrorism has no religion or ethnicity; please find links below of past terrorist attack on places of worship.

Link, Synagogue massacre

Link, New Zealand Mosque Shooting

Link, Church Bombing-Nigeria

Link, Church shooting-Texas

From the above link, you can see that terrorism has no religion or colour; and sadly, the world has still got many of these hate-filled people peddling their ideologies and looking for the ‘right opportunity’ to strike; so they can sow fear, division and chaos in our communities and the World.

Recommendation

I will like to suggest, that the Police should make an effort to bring together the different religious bodies in our communities, and train them on Counterterrorism awareness, techniques and response.

I will also encourage management or overseers of different place of worship to hire Counterterrorism consultants and Risk Assessors to help draw a Counterterrorism and Risk Assessment plan, with the view to improve security, improve terrorist attack response and in the dealing with Active shooter scenario.

Link, Churches in North Alabama attend a security conference.

Conclusion

The content and security strategies in this article can be applied to stadiums security, warehouse security, factory security, industrial complex security and any other facility security services.

A Melbourne Security Company

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Images by FreeDigitalPhotos.net John Cafazza on Unsplash (church)

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