High-profile events call for special security techniques instituted by trained personnel who know how to de-escalate aggressive behaviors. High-profile events present a unique challenge because they usually involve many attendees, with security dispersed throughout the crowd, creating the potential for a dangerous situation.
In addition to having a contingency and organizational plan, all personnel involved with a high-profile event must be trained appropriately in response techniques. Please don’t leave this to volunteers or inadequately trained individuals.
De-escalation is a process designed to prevent conflict escalation and resolve conflicts peacefully. Some subjects may be committed to escalating the conflict, so specific measures must be taken to avoid that. Ultimately, de-escalation should reduce a person’s agitation and the potential for violence.
Three Steps to De-Escalation
The three most essential steps for effective de-escalation during an event are to detect, defuse and respond.
Learning how to detect aggressive behavior is the first step. It can help to prevent personal injury and may mean the difference between life and death. Knowing how to see aggressive behavior includes awareness of the following:
- Groups flagged as possible threats (i.e., protest groups, terrorist groups, uninvited guests)
- Red flag behavior that does not fit the event’s purpose (i.e., shouting, pushing, bullying)
- Situational awareness (constantly scanning the crowd looking for anomalies in behaviors)
Once aggressive behavior has been identified, it is essential to stop or contain it as soon as possible. This is where rules of engagement and diffusion skills become very important. These include:
- Never touch an angry or aggressive person
- Do not invade their personal space (provide a buffer zone of four or more feet)
- Help the aggressor save face by being kind and respectful throughout the interaction
- Engage assistance when possible
- Please do not attempt to overpower anyone unless it is a last resort, such as they start a fight or pull out a weapon
If the authorities are present, the best action is to turn the aggressor(s) over to them. However, if law enforcement is not currently on the scene, options include the following:
- Evacuating the event
- Lockdown or barricading the premises
- Physical altercations
During a high-profile event, always practice condition yellow, which means staying relaxed but alert. Most aggressive or violent situations cannot be predicted, so being prepared is the best course of action for any significant, high-profile event.
“To increase your odds to defuse a situation it is crucial to DETECT the increase in anger and aggression in the early stages,” stated Tim Dimoff.
Timothy Dimoff Can Teach Your Organization How to Defuse Aggressive Behavior
Tim’s law enforcement background and years of experience in human resources and high-risk security have given him unique insights into what it takes to have a safe, high-profile event. Contact Tim at [email protected] to find out how he can help your organization stay safe during your next high-profile event.