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Month: February 2021

The return of live events

The government’s announcement that lockdown measures will end on the 21st June, has brought welcome relief to the hard hit events industry. There is clear optimism amongst event producers, that this vibrant and exciting sector is poised to bounce back. It has been clear to us that this optimism has been gathering at a pace prior to the recent announcement. This is reflected by high volume of queries that we have received from producers requiring event security provision this Summer. The hardship of the last 12 months, we believe, has created a real demand from event goers for the live entertainment experience, which will spark a revival in live events this year.

Gallowglass Security’s lockdown activity

Throughout lockdown, Gallowglass has provided security guards to a large number of public sector and charitable bodies. These include, the GLA, City of Westminster, the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Ealing, Havering, Waltham Forest, St Mungo’s and Crisis. The security aim of on behalf of these clients has been to enforce stringent anti-Covid measures to keep people safe. All this, whilst ensuring that we have the necessary measures in place to minimise the risk to our guard force. We continue to provide security at various London hotels that temporarily accommodate highly vulnerable rough sleepers. Additionally, we currently provide security guards and Covid marshals in the London boroughs of Ealing and Lambeth. Their purpose is to successfully manage the control measures at the Covid testing and mass rollout vaccination centers.

The Gallowglass Security approach

Our experience in the event sector has been invaluable in our providing effective anti-Covid security regimes. There has been the necessary up skilling of our guard force to deal with the specific challenges that Covid presents. The Gallowglass approach though, remains the same. Our aims are always to secure the desired outcomes for our clients. We deliver this through extensive planning and risk assessment before the start of any contract; together with the deployment of well briefed and led guards with the correct skill set for the task in hand. All this together with frontline service delivery that is effective and friendly; and where use of initiative is encouraged, and leadership valued. By virtue of necessity, our lead in times for assignments can be very short. Gallowglass has illustrated, time and time again, it’s remarkable capacity to deliver all security services at very short notice. We pride ourselves on our ability to react and deliver our services at short notice, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

The effect of our lockdown experience

An unintended, but positive consequence of the crisis is that it has strengthened and improved us. Our personnel and operating processes have been stress tested, and have excelled. Adversity has bred innovation, with an original and dynamic approach to both health and safety and training, being a very good example of this.

Final thoughts from Gallowglass Security’s Managing Partner – Giles Turnbull

“ I have been hugely impressed by how my team has adapted and evolved to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. The whole of Gallowglass Security have shown admirable determination and intelligence, to overcome the myriad of problems presented by Covid .With the creative buzz of live events set to make its welcome recovery, we return to where we came from. We have always set and delivered very high standards for ourselves in all that we do. I have no doubt that our Covid experience has improved upon this, and that the quality of our event security services will go onto play a significant role in the success of live events this Summer.”

Hotel Quarantine Security

During the early stages of the global pandemic and the initial lock downs, Gallowglass Security were tasked with providing services to a large number of hotels in and around London who were providing accommodation to rough sleepers. During this time our front line staff deployed their skills to manage challenges presented by those not only suffering from COVID19 but the support and medical staff who were helping them.

Gallowglass Security’s health and safety and management teams have quickly adapted to the new environment which was changing on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. The Gallowglass Security teams lead by Nick and Peter developed new working practices and protocols to keep not only our team but others as safe as possible during a rapidly unfolding COVID situation.

Situation with the new quarantine hotels, introduced by law on the 15th of February for travellers arriving from 33 “red list” countries, is different however, Gallowglass Security has unique insight on how these hotels can be mobilised and managed going forward. Being one of the few companies who are under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), where police Chief Constables can choose to devolve limited powers to companies and staff like ours. This further galvanises our thoughts on how and where our industry can support the UK during the global pandemic.  

Many people have cited the Australian model as one which should be copied in the UK as they have suffered just 28,918 cases. There a number of scientific factors that we do not have the expertise to comment on but facts such as population density and climate is a known factor. For Gallowglass, looking at practicalities of Australian quarantining procedures we offer insights on how these may be carried out in the UK.

The main difference between people travelling to the UK and Australia is the type of transport used. The vast majority of travellers arriving in Australia will do so by air, this makes the logistics of social distancing between arrivals and the general population a simpler task. By comparison in the UK we have far more transport hubs and links, many in major areas of population including train, ferry and airport terminals. This will add an additional layer of complication for those in the UK tasked with mobilisation and deployment.

Australia originally employed private security to guard the hotels, this proved unsuccessful do to the professionalism of the staff deployed. This led the Australian government to use police forces to provide this security service at quarantine hotels. In the UK we are faced with a different set of circumstances however the same problems. Firstly the UK will have different logistical situation, the location of hotels and the way people enter into the country. From a government perspective there is a requirement not only to have more quarantine hotels but spread out over a much larger geographical area. This will still be a requirement if the numbers of arrivals is comparatively small as they cannot be concentrated around a handful of international airports like the Australian model.

The UK already has a much stretched police and armed forces services who may be able to lead on this project however will not be able to staff the whole deployment. The advantage the UK has over Australia is a well-developed and professional private security industry. Gallowglass is one of a handful of CSAS companies who are trained to support and liaise with police during a wide range of scenarios. This affords not only the government but the community as a whole a wider range of resources to draw upon.

There is a huge amount of public approval for the quarantine process, 90% in a recent YouGov poll, this means that there will not only be public opinion but pressure to ensure these hotels are run to the highest professional security standard and why Gallowglass Security is uniquely placed to help.

Gallowglass Security is offering security support to hotels helping foreign and UK nationals arriving back into the UK.

Hotels housing those that need to go into 10 days quarantine require professional, experienced security with a deep understanding of health and safety protocols during COVID.

Using our extensive experience of supporting the Greater London Authority and working with our hotel partners to house the homeless during COVID, we will be supporting hotels that are offering rooms to those going into self-isolation, for those coming from outside of the UK.

If you are interested in Gallowglass Security’s services, support for safeguarding your guests or advice around the appropriate Health and Safety precautions you need to take, please email us on dutyops@galsec.co.uk or call us on 02073 267 840

Front of House; Building Manager; Security Guard: One person, three jobs

Sadly, due to the Pandemic, it is impossible to keep all three roles active. A limited number of staff and visitors are coming into the building; therefore, reception and front of house staff are largely manning empty reception halls. However, checking on the buildings health and ensuring the site is secure remains critical. A burst pipe, running tap, faulty heating system or broken air conditioning units can cause damage to the building and even effect the company’s ability to work remotely, if servers are kept on site.

Asa result, we are seeing increased demand for an individual that can service all three roles; front of house, security and site inspection, at a fraction of the cost.

This has led Gallowglass Security to fill a new and developing service based on our highly experienced and dedicated existing team.

Historically we have always provided more than simply reception or security, many of our team started in security, but have developed significant building management experience as well as Front of House training from our very own, Amr Fadl, a former concierge at The Ritz and Browns Hotel.

While we can provide front of house and security services, we have also trained our team to have a strong technical knowledge and understanding of how buildings work. Through the wider Gallowglass Security team we can pull on resources to solve most problems without fuss.

Our team also has multi building experience and the confidence to start at an unfamiliar property and immediately get to work. They have the expertise to read existing building manuals and standard operating procedures and instinctively know what needs to be delivered and how. They are able to communicate problems to the property manager coherently and effectively. The team can also communicate with contractors regarding remedial work whilst constantly updating the property’s managers.

This unique skill also comes with the added benefit of Gallowglass Security flexibility and response. We are able to deploy with minimal notice and without lengthy minimum contracts. This gives building managers the ability to call on support when and where they most need it for as long or short a time as they require.

Further advantages of the wider Gallowglass Security support comes when things don’t go to plan. When a problem or work overruns we can continue to provide staff. If a leak is not fixed by the end of a shift, we will immediately deploy a fresh team member, we will not simply say “sorry times up I am going home”. We see all our work through to the end.

We offer this service based on years of experience proving the service as reliable, flexible and cost effective for our customers.

2 Bloomsbury Place-Gallowglass new central London hub

Just before Christmas 2020 Gallowglass Security took over the lease of 2 Bloomsbury Place from our long-term client, The Bedford Estate. The location has become a home to our key holding and response teams, providing respite for our foot patrol teams working through the coldest of winter nights and space for our growing enforcement department.

Although the building is brand new to us there have been many fascinating occupants since the first tenant Mary Frankland lived here from 1733 to 1735. At the time the area was known as “Passionate Bloomsbury” on account of the number of artists and writers who lived in the district. The name Bloomsbury is originally derived from Blemund’s Bury, a “bury” being the Saxon term for a manor house.

The house was occupied by from 1736 by lady Jane King before passing to James Booth who lived here for 42 years. Whilst his name is not a famous one his influence at the time was significant. He wrote the will of George the third, advised the Duke of Cumberland, brother of the king, that “in law no king of England has the power to bequeath personal property” after the king had torn up the will of his father George the second.

From 1772 Richard Heron took up occupation describing it “above middle size, well made and of good construction”. In 1776 he would become principal secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he was held in high esteem for his “integrity and devotion to duty”.

In 1786 a more recognisable name of Richard Ryder took up residence, a royal master carpenter who gave his name to Ryder Street in St James’s as he over saw its construction.

By 1841 the house was used by a charity called the Corporation of the Sons of Clergy which had been established in 1655 by royal charter during the reign of Charles the second. The charity gave pensions and donations to the widows of clergymen and provided education to their children.

This was not the last philanthropic organisation to be based at 2 Bloomsbury Place, in 1885 the Cholmondeley Charities took occupation. A wonderful anecdote from that time was the occasion Lord Cholmondeley was visited at 2 Bloomsbury Place by a famous confidence trickster called Horatio Bottomley. The fraudster made the mistake of pronouncing his lordships name phonetically, the butler advised the miscreant that “chumleigh” was the correct way to address Lord Cholmondeley. To which Bottomley retorted “I see, in that case perhaps you would tell his lordship that Mr Bummerley is here to see him”.

By 1920, 2 Bloomsbury Place became exclusively used for commercial activities, these have included a firm of watch importers, a lady named Millauro who specialised in the manufacture of glass eyes, and the press and public relations specialists, Richman and Associates. It is our turn to write a new footnote in this building’s wonderful history.

Covid 19 at the front line with the Gallowglass Security head of Health and Safety – Petar Petrov

There can be few events in living memory that have brought the importance of effective health and safety measures for business into sharper focus than the current Covid 19 pandemic. In order to ensure safe systems of work and to engender confidence amongst our work force and clients, this is an approach that we implemented at the outset of the crisis, and at a level that exceeded mandated official advice and guidelines. This evolving process has been achieved under the inspiring and informed leadership of our head of Health and Safety, Petar Petrov.

Petar’s  journey from teaching graduate in his native Bulgaria, through to Gallowglass Security guard before progressing to become our head of Health and Safety has been a particularly fascinating one. His epiphany moment came when deployed to man guard a super prime construction development in central London where he came to keenly appreciate workplace hazards, and sought to apply his intellect and academic background in a way to secure safe systems of working.

From there he studiously applied himself resulting in his achieving a full gamut of NEBOSH qualifications and culminated in his securing through BSI lead auditor status in ISO 45001 (managing occupational Health and Safety at work). Currently he awaits his results of his second degree in Business Studies where he hopes to secure a 1st class honours degree, and from there he anticipates going on to secure a PhD in the wellness aspect of H&S.

Having suffered Covid himself in the infancy of the pandemic, Petar understood that this virus was more serious than other respiratory diseases such as the common cold and flu, and that immediate stringent control measures were required to minimise the risk of Covid transmission at all Gallowglass sites including head office.

With alacrity, and before recommended by public authorities, rigorous Covid 19 risk assessments were undertaken at head office, and at all sites where our guard force are deployed together with PPE distribution; with the effect that immediate control measures were introduced to ensure safe systems of work for all Gallowglass Security staff and affected stakeholders. Petar fully appreciated that a generic approach to this task would be wholly insufficient to address the risks posed by the virus and that a nuanced approach was required by him, to reflect the particular and specific risks posed to each of our service sectors.

This was a considerable undertaking as it included hotels accommodating rough sleepers on behalf of the GLA, the City of Westminster, the London Boroughs of Havering and Waltham Forrest and the renowned homeless charities, St Mungo’s and Crisis. All this together with our fixed ongoing commitments in the public and private sectors requiring both security and front of house cover. Additionally both our street patrol teams as well as our VPI and mobile response teams were similarly assessed, with the correct measures being introduced to safeguard their well-being.

Petar took the view that the measures introduced, would only be effective with ongoing tool box training amongst all Gallowglass Security staff. With this mind he formulated Covid specific awareness training which he delivered at each site and in person. Included in the training syllabus were measures borne of his own research into American medical case studies, which revealed, prior to the knowledge being in the public domain for example, that the loss of taste and smell was a potential symptom of the virus.

As society’s response to the virus has evolved, so has Petar’s. With the introduction of mass testing and vaccination sites, so has there been the resulting demand for our SIA manned guarding and Covid Marshalls of these centers, such as the ones rolled out by the London Borough of Lambeth at various sites. In turn the formulation and introduction of specific Covid 19 safety measures have been necessary to meet the unique demands of this vital work.

It is not enough for Petar to introduce these vital and effective measures, he is determined to ensure that they are fit for purpose at all times. In particular he records and analyses the clusters self isolation and Covid transmission data amongst Gallowglass Security staff to establish whether patterns are emerging as this helps in turn to determine the efficacy of the control measures, and whether or not revision is required.

Whilst the future is unclear, what remains a constant is that the Gallowglass Security H&S approach under Petar’s leadership to the risks posed by the virus, will be relentless and unremitting.

The Managing Partner of Gallowglass Security, Giles Turnbull says “ From the outset of the pandemic I have been hugely impressed by the bold initiative taken by Petar to introduce the necessary measures required to safeguard our highly valued guard force In the vital work they undertake for the benefit of society. What is particularly impressive is that regardless of his impressive range of H&S training credentials , that he has used his own intellect and judgment to introduce a range of measures that are unique and effective, and that elevate H&S beyond a tick box exercise”

Meet Jaco Nieuwoudt; Head of Regions, Partner, Security Expert, Chef, Curer of meats, Rugby Player,BBQ enthusiast

Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions and Partner, Jaco Nieuwoudt, has been with us since 2003, after flying over from Pretoria, South Africa, where he was born.  

Although a proud South African, Jaco left the Rainbow Nation to fly over to the UK 18 years ago, at the age of 21, swapping the high veldt of South Africa for the Dales of Yorkshire, via London.   

Now living in West Yorkshire, with his family, Jaco manages all Gallowglass Security’s major event security, regional security services and acting as our client’s and partners point of contact across the Midlands and the North, often playing a hands-on role.   

Jaco and John with Sir Ranulph Fiennes

For those that have met Jaco, it will come as no surprise that he was a keen rugby player and a big presence on the pitch, let alone a Security site. As a young man, Jaco played for the first mixed race school in South Africa, CR SWART, as a Prop or Lock. When he flew over to the UK, he was quick to pick up his boots and join Ilford Wanderers Rugby club in London, but due to the nature of our work, he had to quickly hang them back up, as his reputation for delivering excellent security services started to grow.  

Historic moment- Stuart Rae’s (front row left – Solicitor/Partner) last game of rugby

Starting as a Security Steward in 2003, Jaco’s eye for detail, eagerness to go above and beyond and exceptional client service led him quickly up the Gallowglass Security ranks; becoming a qualified trainer (PTLLS), a certified bailiff and creating Gallowglass Security’s unique and highly adaptable in-house training portal for all security personnel joining the company.   

During his time as a Crewing Manager, our clients were quick to request Jaco’s presence and support for their events and security projects. This led Jaco to often travel the country at the client’s request to support some of Gallowglass Security’s most prestigious events partners, ensuring an excellent level of security service was delivered.  

As a result, we knew we couldn’t keep Jaco in our headquarters and realised that the best way to serve our most active regions and give our clients what they wanted, was for Jaco to be closer to the clients and growing Gallowglass Security’s regional practice.  

Glasgow’s Cadbury’s spots and stripes tour

Since taking over the practice, our regional offer has gone from strength to strength; offering more services to a broader range of clients. Jaco is successfully navigating the trials and tribulations of an ever-changing market and our client’s demands, providing excellent service, and ensuring that the team are quick to deploy at a moment’s notice.   

When Jaco is not setting up your security detail, evicting trespassers, managing our team of 80 security experts and answering client queries and questions, he can be found in the kitchen or at the barbecue with his family. Like a true South African, he loves to barbecue large pieces of meat over a low heat for a long time. Alongside this, he can often be found curing different meats and making traditional South African Biltong and boerewors. It will come as no surprise to anyone then that when asked what his favourite Gallowglass Security event was, Jaco was quick to reply, “Foodies Festival!” 

Like all of us, Jaco is looking forward to the return of events and festivals up and down the country. In order to bring this about, he is working closely with Petar Petrov, Head of Health and Safety, to advise clients on how to prepare for the new normal. If you are interested in hearing how Jaco is preparing for event security in the age of COVID and what we can do to help, be sure to contact him and he will only be too happy to answer your questions.  

Gallowglass Security – Regions – Security outside the Capital

Gallowglass Security, although headquartered in London, has operated a successful regional security program across the country for over a decade, from North East, North West, Yorkshire and Birmingham to the South of England through to Bristol and down to Cornwall.

Gallowglass Security’s regional practice is over ten years old and led by Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions, Jaco Nieuwoudt, from his offices in West Yorkshire.

Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths
Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths

Running a team of up to 80 guards, Jaco has been helping to deliver all Gallowglass Security’s core practices outside of the capital for over a decade, even before he became a Partner and Head of Regions.

COVID-19 has changed the type of business Gallowglass Security is working on, but despite the restrictions the phone continues to ring with new requests and a burgeoning client list, across the company’s business units of Property Security, Events Security and Enforcement.

Jaco said: “Prior to COVID-19, we were undertaking a lot of promotional roadshows with major brands and securing festivals and public events for our clients across the country.  More recently we have been working with clients to secure their properties, evict trespassing travellers and undertake VPIs to ensure vacant properties are not being damaged or falling into disrepair.”

Gallowglass Security has been proud to work with Tough Mudder since 2012 across 12 of their events a year; however, during COVID-19, these security guards have re-skilled and utilised their experience to support clients across a range of eviction and property related security services.

Tough Mudder

Despite the challenges, the regional security team have adapted. Jaco continued: “We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt, our professional, above and beyond approach and our ability to deploy quickly. Client’s are having to adapt quickly under stressful circumstance, which is why we adapt quickly with them. Providing a reassuring, proactive, professional security presence is critical to curing client’s security concerns.”

Utilising Gallowglass Security’s significant Property Security experience, they are now working with a large number of commercial building owners. The types of buildings Gallowglass Security are protecting, include warehouses, commercial property, such as shops and trading estates for estate agents, business owners and administrators, offering VPIs, manned guarding, key holding and alarm response.

Jaco said: “I have always loved the events side of the security business and a personal favourite, as a keen cook, was Foodies Festival. We love seeing the competition and camaraderie at events like Tough Mudder, the joy at The Big Feastival and the energy at all the music festivals we support. We cannot wait to have them back and support them again. However, in the meantime, our skills and training programs have allowed us to adapt and attack the challenges our clients face today, across the country.”

Tudors on Tour

For those that are looking for security solutions, whether it be related to estates and properties, enforcement or events, contact Jaco and his team.