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US planners budgeting for violent incidents, MPI report finds

Planners are upping budgets to deal with threat of gun crime according to autmn edition of MPI Meetings Outlook

Meeting professionals are preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, according to the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Meetings Outlook 2016 Autumn Edition.

The report found that meeting planners are upping security budgets, while at the same time predicting increased spend and favourable business conditions over the next year.

More than half (57 per cent) of event planners have predicted a rise in budgets for 2017 and more than two thirds (67 per cent) are predicting favourable business conditions.

However, 15 per cent of respondents said they have reserved additional budget for security, while 14 per cent said security concerns influence destination selection.

Stuart Ruff-Lyon, vice president, events and education at risk management society RIMS, said: “Our security budgets are increasing, increasing, increasing.” 

At the group’s most recent event in San Diego, RIMS invested in bomb-sniffing dogs to walk the floor, as well as increasing the police presence at entrances and on the floor, in the event of an active shooter. 

He added: “We have added many plain clothes police officers that are armed that look like attendees walking the floor, walking the center. I think we are close to a point where we are probably going to have to add metal detectors to ensure the safety of attendees. Part of me wonders if that should be something that convention centres are planning to do.”

Sam Bhandarkar, event placement director at LRP Publications, said he was also giving more thought to preparing for violent incidents, especially at events that take place in states with open carry laws.

He said: “While we have not found a need for specific new policies for our programs, the recent enactment of open carry laws in many major convention destination states is very concerning.

“While there appears to be little that can be done at public facilities to disarm individuals walking in the door, I believe that many of us are still eagerly awaiting specific feedback from major hotel chains and privately held venues for updates on policies and procedures to ensure that all of our attendees are free from the growing threat of active shooter gun violence.”

You can read the full report here.

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