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Security measures that caused rugby delays are here to stay, says defiant WRU

Enhanced security measures that caused thousands of rugby fans to miss the kick off for the Australia match are here to stay, said a defiant Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday evening. Rugby fans missed kick off for the opening autumn international because of huge queues to get into the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Supporters were left standing in the rain outside several gates as a result of enhanced security checks because of the unprecedented terror threat in the UK.

Fans queuing at the stadium as the game kicks off Fans queue at the stadium

Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early1 , with every supporter due to be searched for the first time ever . A warning was also issued stating large bags and umbrellas would not be allowed into the ground.

TV pictures inside the Principality showed scores of empty seats as the players emerged from the tunnel, with BBC TV presenter John Inverdale raising the issue on air . A crowd of more than 66,000 was due at the match. The WRU said after the match: “Enhanced security measures ensure everybody entering Principality Stadium is checked on arrival at the turnstiles . For the Under Armour Series, we have doubled the pre-game opening hours to three hours to give fans the opportunity to avoid the queues and we have made every effort to communicate to supporters to plan to arrive early and leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid missing kick off.

“We received great support from all of our partners, including the media, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council, getting this message out in the build up to today s event.

“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is of paramount importance.

“Welsh rugby fans are renowned for their contribution to the fantastic atmosphere inside the venue and vital support they give to the team on the pitch.

“Today thousands of fans enjoyed our new and improved pre-match entertainment schedule from three hours before kick-off, including live music and early bird offers at our retail units.

“It is important to stress that these security measures are here to stay and we don t want anyone to miss kick off.

“We will continue to urge supporters to allow more time for getting in to the stadium in future, as these checks are vital to the safety of all attendees.”

Thousands of fans remain in queues with just two minutes before the start of the game.

Tom Lee-wah from Cardiff said the price of the ticket didn’t warrant having to queue and miss part of the match. Another fan said she had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the rain.

“We’ve missed the great atmosphere now . Normally we like to go in and get a drink and take it all in before the match starts but we have missed all that.

“We were told we should come earlier because of the security check but we did come thirty minutes before kick off.”

Several fans took to social media to vent their frustration about the situation, with some describing scenes of chaos at the crowded gates. One, Tom Lewis, reported being stuck in a queue for an hour with no sign of movement, while fans at Gate 7 told WalesOnline they had no chance of making kick-off despite turning up 40 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Supporter Hattie Jones tweeted the Principality Stadium, saying: “We’ve been queuing for 65 minutes but are still told the queue is more than 60 minutes . Five minutes away from kick-off . Are there any refunds available.”

Cardiff MP Stephen Doughty called the crowd handling at Gate 1 an “utter shambles”. He said in a tweet he’d “never known it so bad in 18 years” and had reported his concerns to South Wales Police and the WRU.

There were also reports of female fans getting to the front of queues only to be sent to other queues by male stewards who were unable to search women. The WRU issued a detailed warning to fans earlier this week but it appears many were unaware just how thorough the checks would be in comparison to previous games. Small bags and handbags were permitted, provided they were no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm.

References

  1. ^ Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early (www.walesonline.co.uk)

Security measures that caused rugby delays are here to stay, says …

Enhanced security measures that caused thousands of rugby fans to miss the kick off for the Australia match are here to stay, said a defiant Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday evening. Rugby fans missed kick off for the opening autumn international because of huge queues to get into the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Supporters were left standing in the rain outside several gates as a result of enhanced security checks because of the unprecedented terror threat in the UK.

Fans queuing at the stadium as the game kicks off Fans queue at the stadium

Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early1 , with every supporter due to be searched for the first time ever . A warning was also issued stating large bags and umbrellas would not be allowed into the ground.

TV pictures inside the Principality showed scores of empty seats as the players emerged from the tunnel, with BBC TV presenter John Inverdale raising the issue on air . A crowd of more than 66,000 was due at the match. The WRU said after the match: “Enhanced security measures ensure everybody entering Principality Stadium is checked on arrival at the turnstiles . For the Under Armour Series, we have doubled the pre-game opening hours to three hours to give fans the opportunity to avoid the queues and we have made every effort to communicate to supporters to plan to arrive early and leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid missing kick off.

“We received great support from all of our partners, including the media, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council, getting this message out in the build up to today s event.

“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is of paramount importance.

“Welsh rugby fans are renowned for their contribution to the fantastic atmosphere inside the venue and vital support they give to the team on the pitch.

“Today thousands of fans enjoyed our new and improved pre-match entertainment schedule from three hours before kick-off, including live music and early bird offers at our retail units.

“It is important to stress that these security measures are here to stay and we don t want anyone to miss kick off.

“We will continue to urge supporters to allow more time for getting in to the stadium in future, as these checks are vital to the safety of all attendees.”

Thousands of fans remain in queues with just two minutes before the start of the game.

Tom Lee-wah from Cardiff said the price of the ticket didn’t warrant having to queue and miss part of the match. Another fan said she had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the rain.

“We’ve missed the great atmosphere now . Normally we like to go in and get a drink and take it all in before the match starts but we have missed all that.

“We were told we should come earlier because of the security check but we did come thirty minutes before kick off.”

Several fans took to social media to vent their frustration about the situation, with some describing scenes of chaos at the crowded gates. One, Tom Lewis, reported being stuck in a queue for an hour with no sign of movement, while fans at Gate 7 told WalesOnline they had no chance of making kick-off despite turning up 40 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Supporter Hattie Jones tweeted the Principality Stadium, saying: “We’ve been queuing for 65 minutes but are still told the queue is more than 60 minutes . Five minutes away from kick-off . Are there any refunds available.”

Cardiff MP Stephen Doughty called the crowd handling at Gate 1 an “utter shambles”. He said in a tweet he’d “never known it so bad in 18 years” and had reported his concerns to South Wales Police and the WRU.

There were also reports of female fans getting to the front of queues only to be sent to other queues by male stewards who were unable to search women. The WRU issued a detailed warning to fans earlier this week but it appears many were unaware just how thorough the checks would be in comparison to previous games. Small bags and handbags were permitted, provided they were no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm.

References

  1. ^ Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early (www.walesonline.co.uk)

Security stepped up as Manchester’s Christmas markets open for business

Armed police have begun patrolling at Manchester s Christmas markets. To bolster security even further steel and concrete barriers have been placed around the popular stalls for the first time this year. As revealed in the M.E.N . undercover plain clothes officers carrying guns who will mingle with the crowds.

The heightened security comes after the Manchester Arena bomb and the fact that according to the Metropolitan Police the current threat level to the UK from international terrorism is severe. But Leaders in Manchester insist the city is open for business .

Concrete barriers have been placed around the popular stalls

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Superintendent Chris Hill from GMP said: People s natural response when they see extra security can sometimes be one of fear or concern, worrying that the extra measures mean that it s more dangerous.

“I want to assure people that we are strengthening protective security as an extra precaution to keep people as safe as possible, and it should make people feel more comfortable and reassured about attending events like the Christmas Markets . Our priority is the safety and security of all those attending or involved.

This has been a difficult year for the city and we must never forget the people who have been affected . However, we have already all come together and shown our strength and determination to carry on enjoying our day to day lives .

I want to encourage everyone to do the same . We are here and we re doing everything that we can to keep you safe.

Firearms officers will patrol the markets across the city centre

Read More

The new barriers will be placed around Albert Square and firearms officers will patrol the markets there and at other sites across the city. GMP and Manchester City Council are also working together to install other protective security measures in key areas and have been working closely with the market managers and organisers.

Councillor Pat Karney from Manchester council said: Visitors to our markets will see the precautionary measures we are taking to make sure everyone who visits the city feels safe, and that they know we have done everyone we can to make their visit enjoyable.

We have worked closely with GMP to make sure the security in place is as robust as possible, and we look forward to welcoming the millions of visitors to our Christmas Markets over the next six weeks.