UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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MakoMania
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Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:18 pm

In light of recent events many theme parks are enhancing their security measures. With Disney, Universal and SeaWorld announcing that they will install metal detection not only in their US parks, but in other parks worldwide including in Paris. Theme parks, especially high profile ones are without a doubt a target as there are guaranteed to be large gatherings of people, especially in queue lines.

Do you think Alton Towers should follow the trend and enhance security in 2016?
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Aidan Lowe
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:37 pm

Not really. America is very high on gun crime as they are quite easily accessible over there. This country if there was any mad people wanting to do mass harm to large crowds not sure they would pay entrance into a place to wreak havoc.
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MakoMania
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:42 pm

Other parks have thought differently though. I'm not arguing one way or the other. Although I do think their is a risk, however small that may be, there is a risk. It's whether Alton are willing to take that risk.
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:45 pm

It's a difficult thing, since I don't think it's necessary but in the very slim tiny chance that something happened people would be angry precautions weren't put in place.
Same goes for anywhere really, we could start putting security guards and metal detectors in every shop, cinema, school, bus station, etc. but I think there's a point we should say No, we're not going to let you bully us into living in fear of your pathetic twisted ideology.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:25 pm

I notice they bring in the metal detectors on 'Traveller' days. Not sure what they're looking for, is it knives? The only thing I know is, going on one of those days was a big mistake!

Talking of keeping the place secure, I noticed the other day one of the outer fences has been cut and ripped down, near the oblivion. Would make very easy access into the park, not sure what CCTV they've got down that end but I noticed it from the road, surely their security should be finding stuff like that! Do they not do daily checks on the outer perimeters?
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:34 pm

Well in regards to the changes being made in the US and in Paris don't forget these were two locations with recent terror attacks maybe ~25-50 miles away.

And I personally can't see Merlin taking the measure of bolstering their level of security in the slim chance one of their parks is targeted. You take a risk no matter what you do, extremists don't care where you are or who you are.
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MakoMania
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:28 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
You take a risk no matter what you do, extremists don't care where you are or who you are.


Very very true.
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:41 pm

There were people on the radio a while back saying they were skipping out christmas shopping incase they got attacked by terrorists.. I think the media is partly to blame since every single day there are multiple news stories about terrorists, or possible terrorists or someone mentioned terrorists. In the run up to christmas in this country, you're more likely to be killed by a runaway dustbin lorry.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:44 am

Well at Thorpe Park I been asked once or Twice to be checked and they said they pick all guests at random.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:25 am

Most of Merlin's parks benefit from rather small pinch point entrances, a lot of counter terrorism is about watching peoples behaviours, and looking for red flags.
Compared to universal and Disney's sprawling entrances, where it would be easy for someone to blend in to a crowd, it would be quite easy to spot something amiss when you only have 5-10 turnstiles open and a steady flow of people in an area laced with cctv.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:44 pm

The comments above about Thorpe Park having had metal detection in use randomly for years are true (as we have all seen).

However, security at Alton Towers is a joke. Despite all the signs saying queue jumpers will be ejected, they eject no-one (unless you are caught multiple times in the same day). Reason: Alton Towers is in a very rural area & if the queue jumpers have come on a coach trip, they will just wander round the local area causing trouble until it is coach departure time. Security (CCTV) coverage of the park is poor - how many cameras are there in Forbidden Valley (that feed back to Security HQ)? 2. One by the Edge games unit & the other by the Fish & Chips unit that was. And this is for an area with two of the biggest rides - there are a not dissimilar number of cameras covering the car parks too... never leave anything on display in your car in Altons' car park.

The only time Alton Towers step up security in any way is on the two Traveller weekends (specifically the Sundays). Here we see x-ray machines & metal detectors in use at the entrance as well as a heavy security & police presence on the park. Also no alcohol is on sale on the Sundays of these weekends.

Just to make is clear - I think that the Florida Parks security was just as woeful - until they stepped things up in mid-December. Prior to this time you could easily wear loose shorts and a big baggy shirt (as many Americans do) and walk through the "No Bag Line" with a weapon of sorts concealed about your person under baggy clothing. And this is in a country where it is very easy to own weapons. Even the bag checks used to be a farce - someone prodding around in your bag with a piece of dowelling looking for illicit items, yet no check made for anything you may have on your person. At least since mid-December the metal detection - both random & mandatory - has been stepped up to provide another layer of security.

The metal detection on the coasters at Universal Orlando is very random too. Have seen people go through with huge "cowboy style" metal belt buckles on their belts & not set the detectors off. The next person goes through with a few quarters / car keys / a mobile phone (even in a zipped up pocket, so very secure) and they set the detector off & are shown the exit to the lockers.

I hope it never happens, but if a serious "security incident" was to happen at Alton Towers - particularly next season - it would be the near death-knell for the place. The park would be trying to bounce back from The Smiler fallout & if something happened that caused injuries / made guests feel unsafe visiting, it would not be good news for Merlin.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:18 pm

Yes I think they should.
 
stealthsmiler
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:26 am

I don't think it's necessary. Getting into Blackpool Pleasure Beach takes ages and is very annoying. I'd hate to see this at Alton Towers as well. At the end of the day people carry too much metal on them. Keys. Glasses. Phones. Jewellery. Belts etc. The time it takes for each person to take it all off then put it all on again after is too long. Plus the park is out of the way and too spread out. Terrorists would need somewhere with a high density of people. At Alton towers everyone is spread out and therefore there wouldn't be the impact the terrorists would want. Someone stabbed in X sector. Forbidden Valley wouldn't know about it for a good while


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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:24 pm

stealthsmiler wrote:
I don't think it's necessary. Getting into Blackpool Pleasure Beach takes ages and is very annoying. I'd hate to see this at Alton Towers as well. At the end of the day people carry too much metal on them. Keys. Glasses. Phones. Jewellery. Belts etc. The time it takes for each person to take it all off then put it all on again after is too long. Plus the park is out of the way and too spread out. Terrorists would need somewhere with a high density of people. At Alton towers everyone is spread out and therefore there wouldn't be the impact the terrorists would want. Someone stabbed in X sector. Forbidden Valley wouldn't know about it for a good while


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I don't think it is entirely necessary either to install massive security however your points actually would work in a potential attackers favour. It is likely that on an average day at Alton Towers, at least 100-200 people will be spread through one particular area and in queue lines. If an attacker were to bring in a gun/ knife or any kind of weapon there would unfortunately be more than enough victims to attack. Queue-lines especially would be a highly effective attack site due to the limited evacuation space and mass number of people contained within them. The point you made about other areas of the park not knowing about an incident for a while after the initial impact is also an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. If an attacker can launch an initial attack and escape through the crowds, it is then easier for them to launch a second attack at a different area of the park as security measures have not been put in place there yet and people are unaware. It is highly unlikely an attack will ever take place at Alton Towers but it wouldn't be difficult to launch an attack with a high impact at all. It is just Alton Towers decision to see if the vulnerability of the resort outweighs the low possibility of an attack.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:48 pm

stealthsmiler - I both agree & disagree with what you say. On one hand, no, I don't really want full airport style screening to get into a theme park - if we go down this route, then the terror organisations have won. I also fully agree that most people take way too much crap with them on a day out - but even the basics (say keys / cash & a mobile phone) will all activate a metal detector. This is before you throw belts & watches in for good measure.

On the flip side, look at the huge impact The Smiler incident had on Alton Towers. Four serious injuries including two partial amputations of limbs led to a huge drop in attendance - long before Alton Towers admitted human error was the cause. The general public perceived that the rides / place was unsafe (which we know is untrue, but it's what Joe Public thinks that counts).

Now I am unfamiliar with weapons such as firearms & have no idea how many rounds you'd get in a magazine on a small firearm - but guess that 6-10 is not far off the mark. If someone was to get such a weapon into a theme park (any theme park - this is not Alton specific) and discharge the said rounds, then you are looking at a number of potential fatalities + injuries caused by the panic that would ensue in the aftermath. Given what four serious injuries did to Alton Towers attendance, think what this would do to a parks attendance?

I ski in the USA most years and you invariably get talking to people on ski lifts. Even now, some 14 years down the line from 9/11, you'd be amazed how many Americans you talk to who have driven for over a day (or two) to get to Colorado as they won't fly after the events of 9/11. People are fickle - if they perceive something as unsafe / a danger area, they stay away.

I cannot stress enough that I hope there are no incidents of any kind at any theme park, or indeed anywhere in world. That said, I think most would agree that we live in a very different world to what we did 20 years ago. There are lots of people (or groups) out there who do not like various other countries & seek to let them know this. Most recently, you cannot ignore the events in California or Paris to name but two.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:32 pm

I definately agree with all of you guys about this, I think AT should enforce this upon entrance (NOT ON RIDES!!! Please!) especially as people have recently mangaed to bring guns into the Magic Kingdom, as well as attacks at Universal Studios. I think that theme parks are definately targets upon the radar of terrorists, considering major citues are now full of armed police, and all a theme park has got is CCTV and a few security guards (if that.). And as Altontowersbarlow said queues are definately a prime location, especially The Smiler's and Rita's. Also with whats happening with the travellers, I can see those days going out of control, in the horison, very soon.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:14 pm

Agree with the above - especially regarding The Smiler queue line. Lots of people, caged in a small area with no easy means of escape. If someone was to discharge a firearm into the queue area from outside it, the firearm would only cause a limited number of injuries or fatalities (due to limited ammunition). The number of injuries / fatalities from the panic & crush as people tried to escape would be vast though.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:09 pm

Just seen this....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35431086

Alton Towers (& all UK Theme Parks) need to wake up and smell the coffee.
 
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:32 pm

Kraken wrote:
Just seen this....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35431086

Alton Towers (& all UK Theme Parks) need to wake up and smell the coffee.


Agreed. Security make take away from the atmosphere, but is becoming necessary I'm afraid.
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Re: Keeping Alton Towers Resort Safe & Secure

Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:45 pm

MakoMania wrote:
Kraken wrote:
Just seen this....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35431086

Alton Towers (& all UK Theme Parks) need to wake up and smell the coffee.


Agreed. Security make take away from the atmosphere, but is becoming necessary I'm afraid.


It's very difficult for any major landmark, tourist attraction, and any place of significance to get the balance right in terms of security. Too little and there's a risk something could slip through, too much and you risk causing unnecessary panic amongst the public and potentially put people off visiting. One of the main reasons people visit places like Alton Towers is for an escape, therefore the last thing they would want to see is a heavy security set up as it may make you question if they are expecting something to happen. A balanced approach would work best - some checks as people enter, but then also have a number of things in place behind the scenes too.

I'm sure Alton Towers, and indeed all the major attractions in the UK are more than aware of recent events and will be making what they consider the appropriate arrangements for the safety and security of the parks, their guests and staff :)
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