Every August in Brighton, the main Gay Pride festival event takes place in Preston Park. Thousands of people flock to the park each year to celebrate at the end point of the parade through the city, and until a couple of years ago the event had been free with open access from all sides of the park. However, for the last few years, the Pride team have started charging for the event, and tickets must be bought in advance or on the door.
The security team have found that people without tickets were still able to find their way into the park event by scaling the metal fences and jumping over or pulling them apart to sneak through. This is not only dangerous, but also defeats the purpose of making it a ticketed event. It means that the organisers lose out on the money from the tickets the trespassers didn’t buy, which makes it difficult to arrange future events as it is set up by a charity. It’s also annoying for the people who bought their tickets as they know that other people are enjoying the event that they paid for for free.
The problem with metal fencing is that it tends to come in a grid pattern, making it easier for potential trespassers to grab on and climb up and over. Then it’s just a case of finding a safe landing place, and they’re in. With plastic fencing, people can easily pull the barriers apart and slide through between the panels. While security guards can do a certain amount to stop people from getting into the event, they can’t be around the entire perimeter, meaning that people will always find their way in.
The benefit of concrete barriers is that they’re extremely hard to climb, owing to their height and curvature and lack of holes to grab onto. They are also very heavy, and even temporary concrete barriers are impossible to move without specialist equipment, which only the barrier company will have access to.
Furthermore, simply enough, it acts as a deterrent. Potential trespassers could try to get over the concrete barriers, but they know that they won’t be able to, which will cause less trouble for the security guards. All outdoor events struggle to find a way to keep the wrong people out, but with the right fencing system, everyone inside can enjoy their event and the people outside will be kept out if they’re not supposed to be there.
John Stent is a private security consultant who regularly writes about the most effective security solutions for events and functions