Tag Archives: Showsec

Showsec receives praise of the highest order for VE Day security and safety operations in London

Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who saluted the contribution of Showsec to the special London-based celebrations which marked the 70th Anniversary of VE Day.

The crowd management and event security specialist has received acclaim from several quarters for its part in the staging of events over a three-day period in the capital that remembered the occasions when the Second World War came to an end, and it was while members of the Showsec team were drawing a week of duties to a conclusion that they had an impromptu meeting with the Prime Minister at the iconic Horse Guards Parade.

“The Prime Minister was out jogging on the Tuesday evening,” explained operations executive Andrew Agnew. “We acknowledged him as he went past and he made a point of stopping to thank us and to tell us that we had all done a fantastic job on such a great occasion.”

Indeed, this is a view which has been echoed by other organisations with whom Showsec was proud to operate alongside for a celebration of such huge national significance.

Showsec helped to make the special VE Day Anniversary celebrations in central London a great success

Showsec helped to make the special VE Day Anniversary celebrations in central London a great success

The VE Day celebrations presented an opportunity to work again with the BBC’s Special Events team who broadcast live many of the special moments across the three days, and most notably A Party To Remember – the concert staged at Horse Guards Parade which featured performances by veteran rockers Status Quo and Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins.

Guy Freeman, editor of special events at BBC Events, said: “Thank you so much to Showsec for helping to create a very special show at incredibly short notice. I do mean it when I say that it’s a show of which we can all be incredibly proud in every respect. Every department excelled itself to turn what were just ideas on paper into an extraordinarily powerful, evocative and poignant tribute marking an extremely special generation.”

Chief Inspector Mark Chatfield from the Metropolitan Police Service has also stated that it had been a “pleasure” working with the Showsec team on the celebrations.

Main focus of the security operation

While a workforce of almost 700 Showsec staff was deployed throughout the week, the main focus of the whole operation was on events that took place in St James’s Park, including a vehicular display and the concert in Horse Guard’s Parade as well as a Veterans Parade.

Following a Service of Thanksgiving on the Sunday morning, that parade took both veterans and current servicemen from Westminster Abbey to St James’s Park where they were welcomed at a reception hosted by The Royal British Legion.

“Though this was essentially a big celebration, the high profile of those individuals in attendance combined with the circumstances in general at the time meant there was a heightened level of security throughout,” explained Dayo Adelugba, Showsec’s area manager for West London.

“As well as VE Day itself, we had recently had the arrival of a Royal baby and right on the eve of this event there had, of course, been the General Election as well. These were all important considerations in planning the security protocol with a high level of attention to detail necessary at every stage in the process.”

Adelugba added: “Given those circumstances there were many challenges in front of us but, due to a fantastic team effort, everything went very well and everyone seemed happy. The event gave us the opportunity to build a closer working relationship with some important key stakeholders in the capital.”

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Showsec appoints new area managers for Leeds and Sheffield as Yorkshire operation restructures

Showsec is gearing itself up for further expansion in the North of England with the appointment of two new area managers. The crowd management and event security specialist has now divided its Yorkshire operation into two distinct areas following the recent restructure of the Manchester office as the business seeks to maximise the potential for further growth.

Sam Hodkin has been confirmed as the new area manager in Leeds while Craig Bennett will take up a similar role in Sheffield next week. The two appointments represent another major endorsement for the company’s highly-acclaimed Management Development Programme, meaning that six graduates of the ground-breaking initiative have now progressed to become area managers.

Alan Wallace, Showsec’s regional manager in the North of England, commented: “This is another significant step in the company’s development throughout the region and puts us in a very strong position to achieve further growth in the future. We’re looking to expand our footprint all over the United Kingdom and Yorkshire is clearly an area where there is enormous potential. A considerable amount of growth has already been achieved there and recent developments presented us with the chance to undertake this restructure in dividing such a large county into two distinct areas centred on Leeds and Sheffield.”

Left to Right: Sam Hodkin, Alan Wallace and Craig Bennett

Left to Right: Sam Hodkin, Alan Wallace and Craig Bennett

Wallace added: “This is an exciting new challenge for Sam and Craig. They’ve been given an excellent springboard through the Management Development Programme which has created a strong infrastructure for us to promote from within. The value of the company’s commitment to helping individuals fulfil their potential is further underlined by operations executive Christopher Hudson, another recent graduate of the Management Development Programme, who has now moved across from Manchester to Leeds so that he can join Sam’s team.”

Speaking about his new appointment, Sam Hodkin said: “This opportunity is a dream come true. I look forward to continuing on a successful journey with Showsec and embracing this fantastic opportunity.”

Hodkin’s views were echoed by Craig Bennett, who told Risk UK: “I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity and fully appreciative of the level of time, effort and support I’ve received at every step throughout my career with Showsec. Having been based in Sheffield for the past six years, I’m excited to be able to take on this role and further develop the service we provide in the Sheffield area.”

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World Class Service audits commend Showsec personnel’s customer service skills

Event security specialist Showsec has received acclaim after achieving exceptionally high scores for customer service at three major arenas. The company is commended for its high levels of service at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield and the First Direct Arena in Leeds following audits conducted by World Class Service.

Showsec staff at the Phones 4U Arena led the way with an audit score of 94%, closely followed by the team at the Motorpoint Arena (93%) and employees seconded to the First Direct Arena (92%).

The World Class Service on site audits, which were commissioned by Showsec, highlighted a significant improvement in performance at all three arenas. “This is a fantastic set of results and great credit to all those involved in delivering our service,” said Alan Wallace, Showsec’s regional manager. “We’re constantly looking at ways in which we can raise standards and these audits provide a crucial benchmark in helping to measure progress.”

Wallace added: “The 2013 audits identified a need to make improvements to certain aspects of our service and I’m delighted with the progress that has been achieved since then.”

World Class Service works with venues and organisations to help drive standards of service and enhance the customer experience. The company conducts a ‘secret shopper’ assessment of arenas focusing primarily on three key areas: behaviours, processes and environment.

The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield where Showsec provides security and stewarding solutions

The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield where Showsec provides security and stewarding solutions

Recruiting staff with the right attitude

“The Showsec staff in all three venues were wonderful,” said Tracy Waddacor, managing director of World Class Service. “The company has obviously put a lot of hard work into getting the right mix. Recruiting staff with the right attitude is vital and, on the whole, everyone we encountered was helpful, considerate and professional when dealing with customers.”

Wallace praised the operations executives who’ve been at the forefront of the improvements which have been made at all three arenas, namely Tom Bailey at the Phones 4U Arena, Craig Bennett at the Motorpoint Arena and Sam Hodkin at the First Direct Arena.

“Their dedication to service has been the driving force behind this uplift in performance,” commented Wallace. “It’s very clear they’ve had a strong influence on how all members of the teams perform at ground level which in itself is highly commendable.”

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Showsec heroine Cherice Wallen saves young boy’s life in Manchester

Cherice Wallen – a member of Showsec’s Christmas Market team – has been hailed a life-saving heroine for preventing a young boy from choking to death in Manchester.

Wallen responded swiftly and decisively to a medical emergency in the city centre by administering crucial First Aid treatment when it became apparent the child was in extreme difficulty after an item of food had lodged in his throat.

Although the Emergency Services had been alerted, Wallen decided to act when she noticed the boy turning blue and performed the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the piece of food, much to the huge relief of everyone who was present at the scene.

“Cherice’s ability to remain calm in such a terrifying situation and her swift response to the emergency saved a child’s life,” said operations executive David Bradshaw, who’s responsible for overseeing Showsec’s security operation at the market. “The family involved were immensely grateful for her actions and returned later with a gift and a card that simply read: ‘Thanks for saving my life’.”

Showsec's Cherice Wallen on duty at this summer's Kasabian gig in Victoria Park, Leicester

Showsec’s Cherice Wallen on duty at this summer’s Kasabian gig in Victoria Park, Leicester

Bradshaw added: “This course of action was above and beyond the service which we offer, but that’s something Cherice strives for in each shift that she works for Showsec.”

As well as the boy’s parents, Manchester’s Christmas market managers have also presented Wallen with a gift in recognition of her actions.

First Aid training with St John Ambulance

“I was just doing my job,” said Wallen with typical modesty. “I always try to do my very best to help members of the public. That’s an essential part of the role. The significance of what I had done didn’t really hit me until afterwards when I was back at my position and I saw the parents cuddling the young boy. It was then that I was overcome by the emotion of it all. There were a few tears shed.”

Wallen continued: “At the time, you don’t stop to think about what you’re doing. You just get on with using the skills you’ve developed to deal with the situation in front of you. I decided at a very early point in my time with Showsec to go and acquire some First Aid training with St John Ambulance. This is most definitely one of those occasions when it all seemed worthwhile because you cannot put a price on someone’s life.”

The young boy was given a clean bill of health by the Ambulance Service when they arrived on the scene and was able to continue on his day out. While the family are hugely indebted to Cherice for her swift and decisive actions, they’ve asked to remain anonymous. Of course, Showsec respects those wishes.

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Ninth consecutive year of ACS audit improvement recorded by Showsec

Event and venue security solutions specialist Showsec has achieved year-on-year improvement in the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme ratings for the ninth time in succession. An extensive assessment of all aspects of the company’s operation resulted in the award of a hugely impressive audit score of 132.

Assessing body the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) commended Showsec for its performance across all elements of the business and singled out several examples of good practice. Significantly, the company was successful in undergoing assessment for CCTV and close protection in readiness for the introduction of business licensing in 2015.

Showsec aimed for Improvement Scope in the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) assessment process with the prime objective of gaining British Standard accreditation across all aspects of the company’s work.

“This excellent result highlights once again the progress made by the company year-on-year and places us in a strong position should business licensing be implemented,” enthused Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding. “One of the prime objectives of this proposed business regulation for the security industry is to ensure that everyone complies with the British Standards in whatever line of security work they undertake. We now have approval for both CCTV and close protection duties in addition to door supervision and security guarding.”

Harding continued: “The ACS provides a clear benchmark of the standards we achieve in the delivery of our product. We’re constantly striving to raise the bar even higher in terms of the services we offer to our clients and members of the public, and also in relation to being at the forefront of industry-wide progression. Everyone within the company can be extremely proud of this latest achievement. I know this result will provide further encouragement for our staff to work even harder in the pursuit of excellence and continued improvement.”

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Event stewarding and crowd management

The NSI assessment was conducted by Joanne Fox who visited two venues – in Manchester and Leeds – at which Showsec operate before spending two days at Head Office in Leicester. In her report, Fox asserted: “I cannot believe the number of things the company has done in the last 12 months. It’s a great achievement.”

Among the five examples of good practice highlighted in the report are the introduction of a specific training module for SIA staff to ensure all supervisors have a clear understanding of the necessary requirements when supervising employees and casual workers, as well as the formation of Facebook accounts managed by members of the team at Head Office which enable employees and casual staff to communicate on specific events and activities.

On top of that, the NSI report also draws attention to the fact that Showsec has worked diligently alongside the UK Crowd Management Association to develop a specific qualification for event stewarding and crowd management.

Other examples of good practice include the company conducting a number of Human Resources Forums as a means towards even better communication and the identification of any pressing issues.

Showsec has also introduced e-Briefings for a number of events to provide employees and casual workers with detailed and specialist information ahead of them reporting for duty.

“These are just some of the ways in which we’ve endeavoured to improve our product over the past year,” concluded Harding, “but just as significant is the fact that there were no improvement needs identified in the report. That’s an extremely rare occurrence in this process and reflects the extent to which we’ve gone to make improvements across the board.”

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Showsec helps put Leeds’ First Direct Arena on the venue map

Event and venue security specialist Showsec has been acclaimed for its part in helping to establish the First Direct Arena in Leeds as a friendly, customer-focused venue.

The 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena recently celebrated its first birthday when Jake Bugg performed his unique blend of indie rock and folk to a capacity crowd. It was a special occasion which also marked a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the venue’s sponsor, the Leeds-based bank First Direct.

From the outset, Showsec was contracted by SMG Europe to provide its specialist services for the First Direct Arena and has undoubtedly made an important contribution to many memorable events (among them the hosting of the BBC’s annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards ceremony).

First Direct Arena general manager Ben Williams commented: “During the launch year of the First Direct Arena, SMG has relied upon the scale, expertise and professionalism delivered by Showsec. As a company, Showsec has not only embraced but also pro-actively committed to the venue’s vision for putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. The First Direct Arena has quickly established a reputation for being a friendly, customer-focused environment for event-goers and Showsec has contributed significantly towards that achievement.”

The First Direct Arena in Leeds

The First Direct Arena in Leeds

Williams added: “We look forward to working closely with Showsec and continuing to improve our service provision for customers and artists over the coming years.”

International artists in the spotlight

As well as the anniversary event featuring Jake Bugg, the First Direct Arena has played host to many other international artists including Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Kasabian, Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran and The Kaiser Chiefs.

For its part, Showsec has worked closely with SMG Europe and the Arena’s management team to provide a customer-focused service. With Sam Hodkin now operating as the Arena’s head of security, Showsec has developed a strong team of experienced supervisors, Security Industry Authority-licensed professionals and stewards to help the venue enhance its reputation for top class entertainment.

“The emphasis has been on ensuring that the experience for all visitors to the First Direct Arena is the very best it can be,” explained Julian Kumah, Showsec’s area manager for Yorkshire. “The fact that we’ve been able to deliver that level of service is due to the tremendous commitment and professionalism of our staff. We have received some very positive feedback from customers and clients which spurs us on to raise the bar even higher.”

Kumah added: “The development of our service at the First Direct Arena has involved us in being innovative in order to create the best possible operational systems in line with the design of the venue and to use the latest technology. This affords our staff the confidence and ability to fulfil their roles. The upshot of that is a customer-focused approach.”

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Record-breaking Bestival serves as fitting finale to busy summer for Showsec

Showsec rounded off another hectic summer programme of providing first class security solutions at outdoor festivals with a traditional finale on the Isle of Wight, home of the popular Bestival event.

Once again, the crowd management and event security specialist played a key role in the continuing success story of Bestival, which can now claim to have featured the world’s largest disco ball as one of many highlights realised during this year’s event.

The latest edition of Bestival saw Leicester-based Showsec increase its service delivery on site. In addition to a strong and experienced management team heading up a workforce of 850 staff, Showsec also assumed responsibility for overseeing an army of 1,500 Oxfam volunteers who provided equally vital stewarding services.

The rapid growth of Bestival over the years presents a huge challenge in itself, mainly owing to the fact that the arena and numerous camp sites now cover vast areas of the picturesque Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight.

Bestival 2014 proved to be a great event for organiser Loudsound Productions and security specialist Showsec

Bestival 2014 proved to be a great event for organiser Loudsound Productions and security specialist Showsec

“To cover such a large area requires meticulous planning and attention to detail in executing the whole security operation,” explained Steve Reynolds, Showsec’s regional manager (South) who served as the festival’s security manager. “In many respects, though, we’ve grown up with Bestival. Our eleven-year association with the main event and its sister, Camp Bestival, plus our familiarity with the venue absolutely helps. Indeed, many of our members of staff look forward to working at the event. In turn, the organiser sees the benefit of having so many friendly security faces on site, particularly when they’re looking for a high level of customer service from us.”

Reynolds added: “This year, it was apparent there was a much younger audience in attendance so it was a new experience for many. On that basis, it was important for our staff members to be aware of this when it came to helping to create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.”

Working in tandem with the local police service

As was the case for so many other festivals this summer, Showsec placed great emphasis on its work with the local police service when focusing on crime reduction measures.

“We enjoy a good working relationship with Hampshire Police which undoubtedly had a positive impact upon the level of crime,” commented Reynolds. “We took on the role of drugs searching from the police, just as we have done at other festivals.”

Bestival’s organiser Loudsound Productions asserts that Showsec’s strong management team affords the company peace of mind when delivering such a momentous event.

As head of security for the festival, Showsec director Mark Logan oversaw the whole operation at Robin Hill Country Park. One of his responsibilities was the co-ordination of the Oxfam operation. Logan was supported by Richard Church, Showsec’s regional manager for the Midlands.

Showsec placed great emphasis on working with Hampshire Police to orchestrate crime reduction measures on site

Showsec placed great emphasis on working with Hampshire Police to orchestrate crime reduction measures on site

“Showsec’s presence offers reassurances that we can deliver a safe and secure event where everyone can enjoy themselves,” said Dave Grindle, festival manager at Loudsound Productions. “We have a long-standing working relationship with Showsec. It’s very important to us to have the support of such a strong team of managers and supervisors. It’s also good to see the same faces back each year. That continuity certainly helps us as we strive to offer an even better festival experience for our customers. Pleasingly, that’s something we feel we’ve accomplished once again this time around.”

Bestival 2014 ended in spectacular fashion as the record-breaking, 10.3-metre wide disco ball was hoisted by crane above Magic Meadow before disco kings Chic (featuring celebrated songwriter and guitarist Nile Rodgers) closed four days of the very best musical entertainment with a brilliant set featuring all of their 70s and 80s classics.

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