I understand the need to counter terrorism and mad violence by evil people. As a survivor of the Brighton hotel bombing and of other terrorist threats in previous years, I do grasp the serious risks there can be. I sympathise with the authorities as they seek to place enough barriers to extreme action as possible to protect big international events in the UK.
What I find curious is the risk analysis that seems to underly some of this security thinking. Large sporting events these days attract physical security checks and scans for all entrants. Airport security is especially strong, as there have been past attacks mounted by bombers of airplanes. Yet there are no security checks of any kind if I go by train or bus. This is despite several bad attacks on public transport both in the UK and abroad.
The evidence of past security service successes is that the best way to stop terrorists is through eavesdropping and infiltration of their networks and communications. The UK security services have been successful at intercepting several bad terrorist plots before they got to the day of terror. There is less evidence of major finds through individual security scanning, though its defenders would doubtless say it acts as a deterrent.
What is strange is the idea that we need comprehensive and strong screening at events, but not at stations even where those stations are being used by large numbers of people going to the events. Some of the events I have been to seem far less likely to be at risk than say a busy London terminus station, as they do not have the same visibility or ability to do so much damage.
I think the securitty forces should review what they do, and look again at what is actually working. We seem to have all or nothing when it comes to security checks. Maybe there should be random checks at places that do not normally get checked, and more risk based checks at places where they currently check everyone. Part of good security can be varying what you do, to keep the terrorist planners guessing and uncertain.
In all the discussion of the failure of G4S to recruit all the promised guards, there has been no discussion of how many guards do we really need, and what they are going to do to make sure we are safe. Sometimes greater intelligence and quality is the better answer than sheer weight of numbers. If everyone does need to be searched on entry there have to be many entry points, and sufficient people well trained to spot any problem.