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Urban adventurers: FM's worst nightmare?

26 October 2018

Yesterday saw the latest exploit of the French climber Alain Robert, who has been given the nickname Spider-Man, as he climbed the outside of 110 Bishopsgate in London.

Climbing without any support, he attracted large crowds of onlookers and was arrested for causing a public nuisance after his feat.

City of London Police commander Karen Baxter said the incident had had a "considerable impact on police, other emergency services and the local community".

It resulted in road closures and disrupted the transport network, local businesses and staff, particularly those located in the building, said Ms Baxter.

Mr Robert has been climbing tall buildings since the mid-1990s, including many of the tallest in cities around the World.

Members of the PFM Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) also used the incident to highlight the need for FMs managing tall facilities to be aware of the need to deter urban adventurers at all times.

With lucrative sponsorship and payment deals available for those posting videos and pictures of their exploits online, the issue has been seen to become more frequent over the last few years.

Examples of the use of security personnel and technology were provided by EAB members, including training staff to look out for known suspects or those acting suspiciously.

In some cases, just making the individual aware of the fact that their movements around the facility are being monitored is sufficient to deter them from attempting to access it.

Face recognition technology could help in this, said the EAB members, as well as taking out court injunctions against individuals where necessary.

Posting signs around the facility to warn urban adventurers that they face prosecution if found to be in breach of the law was also seen as another effective measure to take, but it was important to follow this with legal action.

When incidents do occur, it is also important to deal with these in the safest way possible, in order to reduce risk to those in and around the facility in question, while following the advice of the relevant emergency service.

It was further stated by EAB members that required actions may include providing assistance to the person or people in question, particularly if they get into difficulties that could then result in falls from height or other incidents.

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