January 20, 2015 -
Several security experts have recommended that New Zealand upgrades its security to include facial recognition technology at major sporting stadiums, according to a report by Radio New Zealand News.
Along with Australia, New Zealand will co-host the 2015 Cricket World Cup next month, which is expected to attract one million spectators to watch 14 nations compete for the trophy.
Murray Stott, a former stadium sponsorship manager recently told Morning Report there was a lack of recent digital security equipment at New Zealand’s stadiums, particularly at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Stott recommends that the stadiums install facial recognition technology to ensure that security personnel is aware of who is coming into the grounds and has the capability of sharing this information with other countries and the police.
Australian terrorism expert Greg Barton echoed Stott’s remarks, emphasizing that New Zealand should recognize itself as being a soft target.
Although a greater police presence is expected at these sporting events, Barton said the act of gathering intelligence is crucial.
New Zealand 2015 World Cup chief executive Therese Walsh said that the tournament events will have high security measures in place with a significant police presence, along with thorough bag searches and random patdowns and metal scans.
She also added that the recent Sydney hostage siege and terrorist attacks in Paris had not altered the standard security measures implemented but the organization had ensured these measures were careful planned.
“The two years of contingency planning that we have been doing, which has taken into account those types of incidents that could occur, whether they be offshore or in New Zealand,” said Walsh. “There is a range of scenarios that all of those agencies and ourselves have worked through in terms of what might happen.”
Prime Minister John Key also feels confident that New Zealand will provide a safe Cricket World Cup. He said that while there is always a potential risk at international tournaments, he does not think that the security level of New Zealand would change at any point during the tournament.