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Showsec and Leicestershire Police work in unison to cut crime at 2015 Download Festival

Event security specialist Showsec’s crime reduction partnership with Leicestershire Police has produced another significant drop in incidents at the Download Festival. The impact of the joint operation for the 2015 event at Donington Park in the Midlands has resulted in a fall of 35% in reported criminal activity. That follows on from a reduction of almost 70% at the 2014 Festival.

What makes this further decrease particularly satisfying is that there was a considerable increase in the number of people who attended Donington Park this time around. The whole experience for the 80,000 Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music fans who attended was made all the more enjoyable by the effect of a joint crime reduction strategy aimed at enhancing Download’s reputation as the UK’s premier event of its kind.

Showsec worked closely with Leicestershire Police on the introduction of a specific Crime Reduction Strategy for the first time in 2014. This had a profound effect for a festival which could already point to relatively low crime figures for events of this type. Indeed, crime figures at Download have been on a downward curve since 2011 and are now at a five-year low following Leicestershire Police’s publication of the latest results.

At this year’s event, organiser Live Nation introduced cashless RFID technology which meant there was very little cash on site while the police trialled facial recognition technology. Results of the effectiveness of this particular trial are subject to a separate report.

Showsec worked in tandem with Leicestershire Police to reduce incidents of criminality at the 2015 Download Festival

Showsec worked in tandem with Leicestershire Police to reduce incidents of criminality at the 2015 Download Festival

Festival director John Probyn highlighted the importance of these measures in providing the best possible experience for Download’s loyal customers. “We’re absolutely thrilled that crime figures have fallen again at this year’s Download Festival,” enthused Probyn. “Every year, we work tirelessly with Showsec and Leicestershire Police to ensure that we provide the safest environment for our fans to enjoy nothing but fun and great music. These latest figures are not only testament to the strength and effectiveness of that partnership and the initiatives we introduce to keep the fans safe, but also to our incredible community of Download festival goers.”

Detective Inspector Matt Ditcher, who was in charge of Leicestershire Police’s Crime Reduction Strategy, commented: “Crime at Download has always been low, but this year has been really exceptional. When you consider that 80,000 people flood into North West Leicestershire over five days, almost doubling the size of the local population, it’s incredible that so few crimes have been reported to us. The figures reflect the hard work and co-operation that occurs between ourselves, Live Nation and Showsec. We work and patrol together to prevent people falling victim to crime either by encouraging them to keep their belongings safe, carrying out proactive joint patrols or by identifying and removing those people who are acting suspiciously. It’s obvious that our strategy works really well and has been a great success.”

Developing the Crime Reduction Strategy

Showsec placed great emphasis on further development of the Crime Reduction Strategy as the award-winning company looked to build upon such a positive outcome last year.

“We’re continually seeking to raise the bar with our operations, but achieving further progress in this instance presented quite a challenge for us,” explained Showsec’s director Simon Battersby, who served as director of security for this year’s Download Festival. “This was due to the reduction in crime being so high in 2014 and also due to this year’s Download attracting a considerably higher turnout, both in terms of the large numbers who attended the festival and those who populated all of the camp sites.”

Battersby continued: “It’s a measure of the close liaison which we have developed with Leicestershire Police that, together, we were able to achieve another significant reduction in crime. “Simon Cole, the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police and the Gold Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Haward, were both praiseworthy of the partnership. The introduction of our own specific Crime Reduction Strategy was piloted at Download last year and then subsequently adopted at other festivals. We believe this partnership in the case of Download and those orchestrated with police forces for festivals in other parts of the country can develop safer and more secure environments in which customers can realise even more enjoyment out of their festival experience.”

The Download Festival is traditionally one of the largest event operations taken on by Showsec each year. It was the commitment and professionalism of the team at all levels which ensured the company rose to the challenges in this instance – and one in particular.

“The wet weather was obviously one of the biggest challenges,” said Battersby. “It is, of course, all part of working at festivals in an English summer, but even though we’ve experienced it before and know what to expect, it doesn’t make it any easier. What does help, though, is having good-natured Download fans on site who accept the weather as being part of the whole experience. They may be soaked to the skin and covered in mud, but they don’t let that spoil their enjoyment of the whole occasion.”

The strength of Showsec’s management infrastructure meant that Battersby was supported by regional managers Richard Church (as arena security manager) and Alan Wallace (security manager for the camp sites) in addition to a number of area managers. These included Joe Milner (project manager) and Louise Stockden (Control Room manager). Operations executive Jennifer Edwards took on the role of crime liaison manager.

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Showsec secures first series of concerts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec recently provided concert and site security to promoters Live Nation for Hard Rock Calling, Mumford and Sons, the Wireless Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival.

These events ran on four consecutive weekends. They were the first to be hosted in the Olympic Park since London 2012, thus representing a significant landmark in the legacy of the area.

Having previously managed security and crowd management for Hard Rock Calling, the Wireless Festival and other concerts on behalf of Live Nation, Showsec director Steve Reynolds was appointed head of security for this latest series of events.

Now in its seventh year, up to 60,000 people attended Hard Rock Calling 2013, which saw performances from headliners Kasabian and Bruce Springsteen.

Mumford and Sons, followed by Wireless featuring Jay Z and Justin Timberlake sold a further 60,000 tickets per day, with the imported American electronic dance brand Electric Daisy Carnival attracting around 50,000 dance music fans to bring the series to a close.

Showsec's Steve Reynolds at Hard Rock Calling 2013

Showsec’s Steve Reynolds at Hard Rock Calling 2013

Showsec secured the site throughout the tenure from the initial build to breakdown. Show day operations were tailored to suit the different multiple stage set-ups being offered around the site by each of the distinctly different events.

Specialist skills applied at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Overseen by operations co-ordinator Michael Asimnye, an impressive array of specialist event security skills were applied by between 400 and 600 Showsec staff deployed throughout the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the varied audiences.

Showsec’s head of security Steve Reynolds said: “This year is very much a one-off year on this site, which will evolve into a new configuration for future use when the final phase of building development starts. On that basis there has been a disproportionate level of planning as opposed to an annual event.”

Reynolds stated: “We have engaged in extensive communications with the multiple stakeholders around this venue, including the London Legacy Development Corporation, Newham Borough Council and the Metropolitan Police Service. Our priority was planning the optimum layout and associated crowd management operations for audience safety and enjoyment with one eye on the diverse range of audience profiles across the different events.”

Sporting events at the Olympic Stadium

On the anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Showsec was selected as the stewarding company to be entrusted with the prestigious sporting events taking place there in July, including the National Lottery Anniversary Run and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec was contracted by Live Nation on behalf of UK Athletics (organiser of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games) and Nova International Limited, the event delivery partner for the National Lottery Anniversary Run which took place a week earlier at the stadium.

Stepping into LOCOG’s former role, Live Nation and Showsec were under detailed scrutiny from several key stakeholders as to their capabilities. Showsec’s specialist knowledge and experience helped to deliver a magnificent experience in the stadium, as 180,000 fans attended what was the largest athletics meeting ever to be held in the UK outside of the Games.

Given the high interest in the event, chief steward Steve Reynolds headed an 80-strong management and supervisory team that oversaw the 600 Showsec staff brought in to assist capacity crowds.
John Probyn, CCO at Live Nation, commented: “I’m very proud of the Live Nation and Showsec teams for helping UK Athletics deliver this spectacular event in what is a great stadium.”

Having received excellent feedback on the levels of interaction between staff and customers, Showsec was praised for its levels of training and knowledge which meant the company entered the project fully prepared.

Crowds were successfully managed and security overseen with the utmost professionalism

Crowds were successfully managed and security overseen with the utmost professionalism

e-learning education and training platform

An online familiarisation module was put out via Showsec’s e-learning education and training platform. Specific modules were tailored to meet the exact needs of Live Nation. All training had to be completed before the stewards went to work.

Showsec management and supervisors attended a dedicated training evening prior to the events in order to familiarise themselves with ingress and egress, circulation routes, contingency plan testing and communications structures, along with understanding the expected customer service levels.

Showsec stewards inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec stewards inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Reynolds added: “There was a five-month planning process to ensure the appropriate levels of staff could operate successfully in the stadium. This included writing new operational policies as the LOCOG procedures implemented last year had changed significantly and were not practical for this event.”

He concluded: “I’m very pleased at how supervisors and staff took in the bespoke online training module specific to the event. This equipped them to be knowledgeable and confident.”

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Festival security: another ‘Summer of Success’ for Showsec

Event security and crowd management specialist Showsec has enjoyed another busy and successful summer, taking care of events including The V Festival, Bloodstock and The BBC One Show Summer Festival.

Showsec introduced a new-look stewarding and security service for The V Festival (which ran on 17-18 August), in turn beginning a long-term contract with festival owner Roseclaim Ltd.

Held at Staffordshire’s Weston Park in tandem with the sister event in Chelmsford, over 85,000 people gathered across the two-day show to see performances by international rock and pop stars, among them Beyoncé and the Kings of Leon.

One of the premier summer events in the UK, the V Festival has a very strong festival brand identity that has been developed along with a team of contractors delivering their vision across 18 years.

Early discussions established how Showsec and Roseclaim Ltd could best work together in 2013 to achieve improvements in customer experience, positively develop the festival and also strengthen its brand values.

Showsec provided specialist crowd management and security at The V Festival 2013

Showsec provided specialist crowd management and security at The V Festival 2013

Extensive planning and two-way communications led to a fresh, innovative security service that would manage the crowds. This built on the systems and standards Showsec is well-renowned for in the UK – all in line with the client’s vision for the festival.

Festival organiser Andy Redhead explained: “You’ve got to strive to stay ahead of the game and keep things new and fresh. Showsec has performed really well this year despite the challenge of the company being new to the festival and having to adapt to what we’re doing. They’ve coped brilliantly in trying times.”

Redhead continued: “We’re really pleased with how the weekend went. Being on the back foot on the Friday with the weather against us, we battled for a couple of hours and came out on top. It stayed that way. We’re fortunate that we work with such professional agencies planning the festival, and we’re looking forward to starting preparations for 2014.”

Combined festival security experience

Showsec provided upwards of 1,300 security staff to the main Weston Park festival site and camp sites, using combined festival security experience and knowledge to provide a customer-focused service.

The V Festival was Showsec’s ninth major festival this summer, with security professionals and stewards drawn from all ten of the company’s UK offices. The stewards were led by a vastly experienced management and supervisory team of over 150 that was led by Showsec director Mark Logan.

Logan commented: “In building the project we were conscious of having to hit the ground running in Year One. Our major objectives were to integrate management style and team with the dynamics of the site and ensure we built key strategic and operational relationships with the relevant stakeholders.”

He continued: “The major successes of the weekend were manifested in a successful, proactive anti-drug campaign, a re-design of the festival’s egress system and an uplift in the proactive customer services delivery, which has cascaded downwards from the management team. Overall we’re delighted with our team’s delivery and contribution to maintaining V Festival Weston Park’s reputation as a safe and engaging event to attend.”

Creating a safer festival environment was a central pillar of Showsec’s operational strategy. It was particularly pleasing that crime figures were low this year, with a 10% reduction in overall crime. A joint venture with Staffordshire Police and Showsec to target drugs being brought onsite resulted in over 1,000 searches and more than 100 ejections. This tactic allowed the police to focus on dealers throughout the weekend.”

Peter Owen, chief inspector of the Staffordshire Police, said: “We feel its been a successful year and shown more than anything how the multi-agency operation with the promoters and involving a professional security company can actually make a difference.”

Owen went on to state: “The size of The V Festival is the equivalent of a small town, and the relatively small amount of crime experienced is a real achievement. We’re thrilled about the fact we’ve seen a further reduction in crime numbers than previous years. Working proactively alongside Showsec has assisted in realising the most successful V Festival to date. This is the result of planning alongside Showsec and the event management structure that was in place from last September.”

Mark Logan added: “Being the new security company, a key challenge for us was to engage with the V Festival audience and gain their trust. The whole operation was designed to be a balance of keeping people safe, without the customers feeling there was an overbearing security presence preventing them enjoying the event. The friendly nature of Showsec’s staff continued through to the campsites, building on prior successful campsite operations at other festivals like Download and Bestival so that customers saw security that they could trust to look after them around the clock while they were at V Festival.”

Specialist security and crowd management at Bloodstock 2013

Showsec was recently praised for its specialist security and crowd management skills exhibited at the three-day Bloodstock Festival, which took place at Catton Hall, Derby.

Sell-out crowds rocked relentlessly to headliners including Thrash Metal pioneers Anthrax and Slayer.

The Showsec Pit Crew at Bloodstock 2013

The Showsec Pit Crew at Bloodstock 2013

For the fourth year running, Showsec was contracted by festival organiser Paul Gregory and family.

Vicky Gregory said: “As organisers, we’re totally committed to the safety of our audience, the artists and their crew members. Showsec bring a lot of experience in crowd management and security techniques to help us achieve our aims. It’s great to see how the company tailors its operations such that they’re appropriate for Bloodstock’s audience and create the right kind of atmosphere across the site.”

Bloodstock attracts a very dedicated crowd of heavy metal fans, and has achieved impressive growth year-on-year. Having won the ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ category at the 2012 UK Festival Awards, interest in this year’s festival was even higher. Indeed, the event was streamed across the Internet for the very first time to over one million people worldwide.

With 12,000 fans attending this year (an increase of 2,000 on 2012), additional campsites were set up to realise a total of five public amenities and seven specialist camping areas.

Darren Evans (head of security) and Rachael Evans (site co-ordinator) managed the Showsec staff deployed across the main stage, the Sophie Lancaster Arena, New Band Stage and public campsites.

“Bloodstock is the UK’s largest dedicated metal festival, and we’ve seen it grow from year to year, attracting a dedicated crowd motivated by a love for the music,” said Evans. “In order to meet the expectations of this unique demographic, we specifically selected 200 Showsec staff from several of the UK offices based on their skills and experience in working within such a unique festival environment. The team worked tirelessly to ensure crowds were kept safe across the festival. I’m pleased with all of the positive comments we received over the weekend.”

Bands including Anthrax and Slayer draw a devoted audience to Bloodstock

Bands including Anthrax and Slayer draw a devoted audience to Bloodstock

Adam Gregory, director of the Bloodstock Festival, added: “We were very happy to welcome Showsec back to Bloodstock. Fans across the site were constantly praising the manner in which the Showsec staff dealt with them.”

Gregory continued: “We received some great feedback on how polite, courteous and friendly the stewards were, how very engaging they were and that they always had time for a helpful chat. This is a refreshing change from other festival experiences I’ve witnessed. Showsec most certainly added a lot of great value to the Bloodstock experience. I wouldn’t dream of looking elsewhere for this service.”

Security at The BBC One Show Summer Festival

From 6-7 August, Showsec provided event security and crowd management services for The BBC One Show Summer Festival, which took place on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare.

A live extension of the prime time TV programme, crowds enjoyed free family activities set up on the beach in the two days leading into the live broadcast of the show in the evening.

The BBC One Show Summer Roadshow: security by Showsec

The BBC One Show Summer Roadshow: security by Showsec

The event was open to the public from mid-day until 8.00 pm and comprised of six zoned activity areas with a main stage and big screen all operational throughout the day on the beachfront green, with further attractions and a broadcast stage on the beach.

Showsec was contracted to manage access into the event as well as providing a full crowd management service and ‘build up and breakdown’ security.

In line with a thorough risk assessment report conducted by BBC-appointed event managers, Showsec was selected for its high reputation and excellent track record on safety.

Showsec supplied 30 event security professionals from the Wales and West office that were deployed from 10.00 am across the site to ensure visitors remained safe and informed.

Showsec supplied 30 event security professionals from the Wales and West Regional Office that were deployed from 10.00 am across the site to ensure visitors remained safe and informed

Showsec supplied 30 event security professionals from the Wales and West Regional Office that were deployed from 10.00 am across the site to ensure visitors remained safe and informed

Martin Lewis, project manager at Showsec, said: “This was a free event aimed at a largely family-centred audience during the school summer holidays. We monitored crowd levels from the entrance points from very early on, taking care of the audience with a similar approach to that adopted at Camp Bestival the previous weekend.”

Lewis added: “Running alongside the main activity zones on the beach, additional activities took place in cordoned off areas surrounded by low level crowd barriers. We also managed access to these areas to ensure they didn’t become overcrowded. The safety of children and the young to very old audience was our overriding priority.”

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