Insecurity In Stadiums: Imperative Precautions

It is an open secret that Cameroon is a sports loving country. In nearly all the sports disciplines, Cameroonian men and women have inscribed their names at the continental or world stages. For the past four decades, the flag of Cameroon has flown high and the national anthem sung in the nooks and crannies of the planet, thanks to its legendry sports ambassadors. While the country is being respected beyond the borders, back home, the issue of insecurity in stadiums is pre-occupying. After the unfortunate incident during the Africa Cup of Nations this year that left many dead and hundreds injured, the invasion of the stadium by spectators during the Cameroon Cup final that pitted Bamboutos of Mbouda against Coton Sport of Garoua on Sunday, October 2, 2022 brought to mind the sad memories of the stampede that occurred at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, 10 months ago. Given that football is the most popular sports in Cameroon capable of bringing various sections of the country together, there is every need for the different stakeholders to put in place stringent security measures during major sports events. 
It is inevitable for safety and security problems to arise when many people come together in a confined space. This is especially true for sports stadiums, where emotions often run high. Each time there is a big sports event in our big towns like Yaounde and Douala, the range of incidents that organizers and security personnel have to be prepared for extends from pick-pocketing and aggressive behavior, often under the influence of alcohol. Supporters of both teams have to be physically separated in stadiums, because violent “fans” can trigger mass panic. To avoid such embarrassing situations, it is very vital for organizers to earmark different security scenarios that begin with the carrying out of extensive security awareness campaigns before the encounter.
Emergency numbers should be displayed at garages, petrol stations; hotel entrances, stadiums, fan parks and restaurants. Security companies and stewards should be informed well in advance if their services might be used so that they can prepare for any request that might arise. It is preferable to have excess security men rather than have less that might not withstand crowd pressure in case of any uprising. All teams should be informed of security plans they should adhere to. On match-days, security companies’ unique challenge is protecting stadium attendees. A zoned operation is also very important for stadiums and other venues. During a security threat, the organization of each operating zone determines how quickly, safely and efficiently attendees exit and law enforcement agencies enter. 
Integrating a variety of monitoring tools and techniques like high-tech surveillance equipment, within each zone increases security. During an uprising or attack, stampeding crowds face a lot of risks. Spectators must therefore be quickly and efficiently guided to safety in order to minimize injuries due to evacuation. Here, it is absolutely necessary to develop a thorough plan based on stadium sections, security personnel locations, crowd dispersal techniques and infrastructure capacity for sheltering attendees. However, no matter how hard government officials and law enforcement agencies work to eradicate threats, natural disasters and unforeseen infrastructure failure pose an equally significant risk. That is why safeguarding work often begins a long time before the event itself. 
While the main purpose of a stadium is to host as many spectators as possible, not all facilities should be accessible to everybody. A large sports stadium is typically divided into public and non-public areas, each with specific security requirements. The public areas might in...



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