Daily Archives: 16/12/2014

‘On Parade’: Security Management Best Practice for Special Events

Managing security at an iconic central London venue allows absolutely no room for error. Recently, Integrated Security Consultants provided support for a lavish private event held at Horse Guards Parade. Brian Sims outlines the service delivery and what lessons were learned.

Destination and corporate event management specialist Spectra DMC approached ISC back in March regarding its plans for a gala dinner to be held at the London meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). This was to be a highly prestigious and unique event on something of a grand scale, with a giant marquee erected at Horse Guards Parade and plans for no less than 1,000 covers.

Guests were to be welcomed by a choir while the troopers and horses from The Household Cavalry would form a Guard of Honour.

Crucially, although the event was private in nature, it would be taking place in a highly sensitive area, out in the open and right next to a major central London public road. The right security regime was vital in order to keep the site safe during the build-up to and during the event, but also to enhance the guest experience and ensure everything would run smoothly.

Horse Guards Parade in London

Horse Guards Parade in London

The event itself took place on 13 September, but chosen security provider Integrated Security Consultants (ISC) was on-site 24 hours a day controlling access to the site from four days prior for the build until the site was clear and returned to its ‘blank canvas’ state two days later.

“We had to work closely with the many different parties involved, all of whom had their own needs and expectations,” stated ISC’s business development manager Paul Griffiths. “These parties included not just our client, Spectra DMC, but also the Royal Parks, the Metropolitan Police Service, the various event contractors and, of course, members of the public.”

As well as managing the security of the site itself, ISC provided corporate security staff to welcome guests, manage local public interest and handle both traffic ingress and egress.

Planning and familiarisation process

“This event was 18 months in the planning,” added Griffiths, “and, naturally, both Spectra DMC and the ACTL had high expectations for the day. Every aspect of the event had to be perfect, from the catering and entertainment through to the security team. We spent six months planning and familiarising ourselves with the expectations of our client and ensuring full risk assessments were carried out. We also attended planning meetings with the Royal Parks so that we understood how the site operated and what to expect, in turn advising on security requirements.”

Griffiths continued: “The Metropolitan Police Service and Royal Parks wanted to ensure that all Health and Safety requirements were in place and that the site was secure at all times. We liaised with them and brought security cover forward by 24 hours to ensure that the very earliest stages of the build were covered.”

On the evening of the event, all access points were secured and a large crowd of onlookers had to be kept back so that all guests could be admitted during a short 30-minute window, transferring from coaches within seconds. Everything went smoothly, but there were some challenges to overcome.

Security for the event was provided by Integrated Security Consultants

Security for the event was provided by Integrated Security Consultants

“These were mostly logistical,” continued Griffiths, “such as some contractor vehicles turning up without pre-registration. Another challenge was that the site is usually easily accessible to pedestrians from Horse Guards Road. Rather than just station officers along the 160-metre perimeter, we were permitted the use of crowd barriers to provide an extra layer of defence.”

Griffiths went on to comment: “Unsurprisingly, holding such a glamorous event in a public place attracted a great deal of attention from passers-by, in particular when the Band of the Coldstream Guards arrived and played several numbers. The event also coincided with the nearby Proms in the Park, which resulted in large numbers milling around in the vicinity, but this didn’t pose any problems for our team.”

Recruitment of security personnel

ISC’s recruitment process is designed with an ultimate objective in mind: the provision of a high quality security service. The company’s clients can be satisfied that each member of the security team they receive on site has been through a comprehensive interview process which tests for competency, communication and customer service capability. The staff understand the high expectations of both their employer and its customers and have the experience of working at a wide variety of public and private events.

To complete the security package for a site on the scale of Horse Guards Parade, ISC provided a manager to fully instruct and guide the security team. The company is always mindful of the fact that security is in place to support the smooth running of an event and that event managers are, in general, exceptionally busy with other aspects of production. For this reason, ISC provided Spectra DMC with a manager to direct the security team on their behalf. Rather than worrying about positioning staff, this enabled the client to focus on its primary goal of ensuring this spectacular event exceeded all expectations within a safe and secure environment.

1,000 covers for guests were provided inside a temporary venue on the site of Horse Guards Parade

1,000 covers for guests were provided inside a temporary venue on the site of Horse Guards Parade

ISC’s success in securing this event is the result of a long history of working on other high profile events, often in spectacular venues, and a culture of listening carefully to clients’ requirements in order to build a bespoke security service.

Mark Wareing, account director at Spectra DMC, concluded: “Everyone on the ISC team was really helpful and great to work with. The security manager was totally flexible and we could just leave the team to their own devices.”

That’s what everyone involved in running and securing special events – be those occasions big or small in nature – wants to be able to say.

What to consider when hiring an event security solutions provider for your corporate events and buildings

What are the main services these companies provide?

There are a wide variety of security roles to be covered and security companies may specialise in different areas along the spectrum. Corporate and private events are very different from large-scale public events or nightclubs and require a more discreet, bespoke service that blends robust venue security with customer service.

Security staff are usually the first point of contact that guests will have with your event and their conduct will set the tone for the evening.

How do you go about sourcing a reputable company that’s right for you?

The security industry has evolved considerably over the past decade, with licensing of individuals working in a security capacity through the Security Industry Authority (SIA) having been a legal requirement for the past decade.

However, just because an individual has passed a training course and holds a licence does not necessarily mean that person is right for your event.

They might be great at patrolling empty buildings, but how will the officers interact with your guests?

Not all security companies are alike. What accreditations do they hold? The two most important to look out for are the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) ‘seal’ and the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme mark. Both are a sign that the company has high quality standards and are subjected to external audits.

The NSI’s ‘Guarding Gold’ also demonstrates conformance with the internationally-recognised ISO 9001 quality standard along with several British Standards for security services.

There are numerous key questions that end users must ask of potential security providers for special events

There are numerous key questions that end users must ask of potential security providers for special events

What are the top three questions to ask of your potential service provider at the outset?

Naturally, you will want to know what price you are paying for the security services offered. Expect to pay an hourly rate per officer for a minimum number of hours per shift.

Prices will, of course, vary from one company to the next, but as is the case with any product or service the age-old saying “you get what you pay for” is very apt here.

A high quality security company offering a high quality service will pay their staff a decent wage and, while they will not charge the earth, naturally they will not be the cheapest option for the purchasing end user.

You should establish a budget for security services early on in the planning process, allowing a little breathing room in case you require more staff or for longer periods than originally anticipated.

How early on in a project should you make sure the security service is on board?

Security staff are often viewed as a ‘need to have’ rather than ‘want to have’ item on an event checklist. However, by viewing them as an integral part of the event experience and by bringing yoursecurity partner on board early in the planning stages, they will have the right amount of time to prepare and give you the best staff they have.

Rather than trying to guess how many security staff you’ll need, talk to your service partner and allow them to conduct a site visit to scope the requirement themselves and to perform a risk assessment. Site geography, threat levels and the event profile will dictate minimum staffing numbers, but the maximum depends upon your budget and key objectives.

The role of the security specialist is to make the service end user’s planning process as stress-free as possible.

How can you evaluate the service you’re receiving?

As the client, your security partner should be asking you lots of questions leading up to the event. Each event and venue is unique and you should be receiving a bespoke service tailored to your exact specifications.

As the event planner, you will almost certainly be present on the day of your event. As with other services, it will be very apparent if you’re not receiving the standards of service you desire.

Consider paying for a security supervisor to manage the team rather than managing each security officer yourself. This will allow you to focus solely on running the event.

What should you do if you’re not happy with the security service provided?

If you’re not happy, talk to your security partner’s representative to make them aware of your dissatisfaction. They should take steps to rectify the situation either immediately or for your next event.

If they don’t do so, it may be time to seek a new partner who can better understand your operational requirements.

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‘Customer service and policy administration realise most frequent operational risk losses’ states ORIC International report

The latest report issued by ORIC International states that customer service and policy administration is the business area where the majority of operational losses have been reported by insurance companies over the first half of 2014.

In its Operational Risk Landscape H1 2014 report, ORIC International – the specialist provider of operational risk event data for the (re)insurance and asset management industry – has compared the loss experience of its members during the first half of 2014 as compared to 2009-2013.

The Top 5 operational risk loss business activity areas for H1 2014 by frequency are as follows:
• Customer Service/Policy Administration (41.1%)
• Underwriting (12.2%)
• Claims (10.4%)
• Accounting/Finance (7.7%)
• Sales and Distribution (6.9%)

ORIC International’s consortium dataset currently comprises actual loss events with a value of £2.3 billion. These losses are described with qualitative and quantitative information. This dataset represents more than 200 cumulative company years of risk event data. Access to this dataset allows members to benchmark their risk profile, enrich their own data for quantification purposes and inform their risk scenarios. These three elements are essential for robust operational risk management and measurement.

Caroline Coombe: CEO at ORIC International

Caroline Coombe: CEO at ORIC International

Caroline Coombe, CEO of ORIC International, said: “This report has been compiled using the most complete industry reference on operational risk events. Few (re)insurers and asset managers have sufficient internal risk event data to fully understand the operational risks to which they are exposed. Our members find the access they have to peer risk event data, industry benchmarks and reference points extremely useful.”

Created in 2005, ORIC International is the only consortium dedicated to the insurance industry. It’s owned by over 40 firms in the insurance sector and uses its collective resources for their benefit.

Members comprise small, medium and large firms operating in the areas of General Insurance, Life, Reinsurance and Asset Management.

In 2014 alone, ORIC International has seen a 24% growth in its member base.

ORIC International Heat Maps taken from the new report

ORIC International Heat Maps taken from the new report

Read the new report in full: ORIC International’s Operational Risk Landscape H1 2014

Further information on the work of ORIC International

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Mitie unveils online crime reporting partnership with Facewatch

FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company Mitie has announced a strategic partnership with Facewatch, the online crime reporting and networking service.

Facewatch is a secure, cloud-based platform that enables business users, the public and the police to report low-level crime with CCTV evidence and to share offender images and intelligence with other businesses within secure groups.

Facewatch provides tools to develop intelligence about specific individuals and affords advanced statistics enabling businesses and the police service to drive down crime.

The Facewatch system holds the police approved Secured by Design accreditation and is fully accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as a means of accessing digital case files within UK Courts of Law. Facewatch is accessible from any Internet-connected device.

Mitie has forged an online crime reporting partnership with Facewatch

Mitie has forged an online crime reporting partnership with Facewatch

This new partnership will see Mitie take control of the entire crime reporting process on behalf of its customers.

Using Mitec, Mitie’s hi-tech security hub, analysts will be able to review CCTV footage, prepare incident reports and develop evidential packs in line with police service and CPS guidelines so these can be used to support prosecutions.

Crime reporting and threat analysis

Darren Gamage, managing director of technology services at Mitie’s Total Security Management business, said: “Working with Facewatch gives us an exciting opportunity to enhance our crime reporting and threat analysis service for our customers. Our analysts in Mitec will work with the various police forces in efficient crime reporting, allowing us to better manage risk and document incidents.”

Gamage added: “We will also be able to share data across our clients’ estates where we’re already monitoring their systems or providing a physical security presence.”

Simon Gordon, chairman of Facewatch, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with Mitie on this launch. Delivering an instant and secure reporting solution to offences such as shoplifting, personal theft and vandalism is key to our partnership. We are focused on improving the quality of crime reports sent to the police from businesses, assisting in developing police efficiencies and reducing crime.”

The Facewatch system now contains around 18,000 images and logs over 8,000 business premises. The concept was kick-started back in March 2010.

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