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Month: March 2021

Reflecting on the 365 days since the country went into lockdown.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of lockdown in the UK. While some restrictions were occasionally lifted, March 23rd, 2020 to March 23rd, 2021 has been a year like no other.

Many people have sadly lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us to mourn the loss of family and friends. Many of our business partners and friends, especially across the hospitality and events industry, have had to manage enormous impacts on their businesses and their staff, some even closing their doors permanently.

Today, at Gallowglass Security, we have reflected on the past year. All those the country has lost and all those businesses that will not be opening their doors again.

The challenge of the COVID-19 virus has brought out the best in a lot of people. The pandemic and other people’s suffering has seen individuals, businesses, charities and governments work together. We have been lucky to partner with some of those organisations and individuals. As we have reflected, we have thought about the amazing work of some of those organisations and individuals and how their actions made a difference.

Helping the homeless

Special praise must be given to those that helped the homeless throughout the pandemic. Numerous charities and partners came forward to support these often-maligned individuals.

Hotels lent their empty rooms while governments and charities paid the bills, making it all possible. We were fortunate to support Crisis, the GLA, St Mungos and Westminster Council throughout the pandemic and see the impact of their work.

All these organisations deserve immense credit for being relentless in raising this issue in the public and political consciousness and making it happen.

The testing and vaccination centres

In the early stages of the virus’s spread, testing centres were set up across the country to understand the virus and how it was transmitted. In more recent months, vaccination centres have been popping up, helping with the remarkable roll-out of the vaccination program.

The individuals, volunteers and the local governments behind this roll-out, fulfilling the testing and vaccinations, deserve huge credit. We have seen their efforts firsthand in Lambeth. The individuals undertaking the testing have put themselves in harms way to ensure the health of others.

While we were working with them, we became greatly aware of the selflessness of the individuals who conducted the testing and administered the vaccine. They worked tirelessly to get the virus under control and deserve great praise for their ongoing efforts.

Security personnel

When reflecting on the past year, we have often thought about our staff, the wider security sector and the individuals within it. A large amount of our industry’s work went with the lockdown.

However, when many of us were working at home, keeping ourselves and our families safe, those within the security sector continued working.

For our part, our staff have selflessly gone about their jobs, supporting clients and customers throughout, often putting themselves in harms way against a hidden virus.

While many of the security industry may be overlooked, we believe they deserve great praise for their efforts throughout the crisis. Whether they were protecting vaccination centres, hospitals, empty office buildings, people’s homes, businesses or the homeless, they went to work every day to protect others and what matters most to them.

gallowglass security street patrols

Street Patrols: Your street patrol questions, answered.

Gallowglass Security has been offering street patrols through its property division for many years. They are an effective deterrent against illegal activity, vandalism and damage to an area. They also act as support to the local police force and homeless charities. Over the course of our streets have seen significantly less footfall. As a result property owners and communities have called upon our services.

Our Head of Property, George Oliver, answers Gallowglass Security’s top 5 frequently asked questions, giving you the who, the what, the when, the why and the how.

WHAT ARE STREET PATROLS?

Street Patrols are made up of a two-man foot patrol team who are dedicated to a small area such as a retail stretch or a Business improvement district (BID). The team patrol the area providing help and support to all visitors to the area.

Our security officers engage with retailers, supporting in incidents such as shop lifting, direct outreach services to those sleeping rough and liaise and maintain a strong working relationship with local dedicated ward officers from the police services. We provide the local force with local intelligence, collecting CCTV and providing reports. This reduces pressure on their services and increases crime prevention.

WHAT DOES A STREET SECURITY TEAM DO?

Their first responsibility is customer service to all visitors to an area. We are often the first people that visitors interact with, and we are also a point of contact for tenants on behalf of landowners. Therefore, we reflect our client and are there to support and relay information to management teams to make strategic decisions.

During lock down these have been a huge support to property and portfolio managers, providing them with valuable real-time intelligence from the ground.

WHY DO YOU NEED STREET PATROLS?

The urban policing structure has changed. Although the numbers of dedicated ward officers have been maintained their areas of responsibility have increased, therefore their impact has reduced. This has been driven by a focus on counter terrorism and not on neighbourhood policing. This has seen a well-documented rise in street crime, especially on individuals and retailers. Many are targeted for their mobile phones. Street patrols act as a genuine deterrent to this type of behaviour and the improvement in areas where we work can be demonstrated by the metropolitan police own data.

HOW DO STREET PATROLS WORK?

Two-man team focus on a designated area, this can often change throughout a day where they take on specific responsibilities depending on what is required. Typically, retailers require support in the day and restaurant areas need support at lunch and in the evening. The team aim to quickly build rapport with shop managers, restaurant staff and front of house teams in hotel and office sectors. The team visit and collect data and general information which is collated in detailed reports and shared with the client which may be a landowner or a group of local businesses. The data is able to provide information on trends and concerns.

WHAT LICENSES DO STREET PATROL SECURITY HAVE?

All Gallowglass Security team members have a front-line SIA licence and receive a number of valuable training courses including ACT action counters terrorism, identifying vulnerable adults, fire marshalling, health and safety, customer service, and emergency communications. As a result, they are well equipped to manage a range of issues that they may face, seamlessly supporting the police, fire and ambulance services.

Gallowglass are also part of the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS).

HOW MUCH ARE STREET PATROLS?

In isolation, they can be expensive; however, many clients make excellent use of the street patrol officers through adding on ancillary services. We take on several other roles including VPI’s and property inspections, in some cases 40 a week. The real question is how much do street patrols save you in terms of reputation? The nicest parts of town are areas where people want to work, live, shop and visit. As a result, these areas are often targeted by criminals and rough sleepers, which sadly often leads to drug use in the area. Crime can have a hugely damaging effect on an area’s reputation; therefore, street patrols are hugely valuable part of ‘place making’.

The information and data collected by the teams has an enormous value in strategic decision making. The property sector requires significant amounts of investment and through our on the ground insights we have been able to help our property development partners make significant savings, offering a dramatic return on investment.  

Octavia Hill 1838-1912 Social reformer and founder of The National Trust 1a Garbutt Place, Marylebone

During our work we regularly encounter people in far less fortunate situations than ourselves. This has led us to run extended projects with estate clients, Westminster council and outreach teams where we direct and support those living on the street. During COVID there are many who are unaware of how to connect with the wide range of excellent services available to them, making the role of our teams on the ground ever more important. Our work has been varied from specific medium-term projects to ongoing work done by our foot patrol teams in Marylebone and Bloomsbury and also our response teams on a day-to-day basis. Whist visiting the team undertaking our street patrols and property inspections, I spotted the blue plaque of Octavia Hill in Garbutt place. Although she is best known for being a founding member of the national trust her achievements went beyond this and are very relevant today.


Born into a family of strained finances Octavia Hill was unable to complete a formal education. This did not stop her pioneering not only social housing but social work and shaping the modern landscape. She believed that it was impossible to “deal with people and their houses separately” identifying that where and how we live has a direct impact peoples lives.
Octavia Hill worked with ruthless self-discipline and determination, identifying dilapidated housing and worked with private investors to provide sustainable housing for London’s urban poor. The first of which was on Paradise Place in London’s Marylebone, which later changed its name to Garbutt Place where her plaque is today. The buildings were anything but Paradise, most of the stairs and floor boards had been used by the tenants for firewood and were the worst of Victorian slums. She believed in a partnership between tenant and land lord, where there was responsibility to provide quality housing by one and maintenance by the other.


This led here to lay the foundation stones of not only social housing but also social work. Whilst collecting the rent on a weekly basis she used the opportunity to get to know the tenants and develop a community. Her understanding and insight led to the Settlements Movement, founded on her belief that social harmony was only achievable with mixed communities. This would prevent slums and ghetto type areas emerging. As a city London differs from so many around the globe because of this believe in social mixing, even Mayfair one of the most affluent areas in the world has a very significant amount of social housing provided by organisations such as the Peabody Trust.


Her influence is not felt just in London but hold influences worldwide, the Octavia Hill Association of Philadelphia was founded in her memory to provide housing to low and middle income city residents.
Octavia Hill identified a housing need for key workers more than an century before it became a phrase so often used today.

Her influence was not just on the urban and social landscape, fighting to prevent urban sprawl and thus saving both Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields from development. This green space is always of great value to London residents rich or poor but even more so in the currant time of lock down. She is also credited with coining the term “green belt”, a term and idea used and appreciated by all of us.


Her most famous legacy is almost centrally the founding of the National Trust, saving important buildings for the nation. This however is only one part of her incredible achievements on the urban, suburban, rural and social landscape of the UK and beyond.

Gallowglass Security retains Kew Gardens event security contract

Gallowglass Security is delighted to announce that it has received notification from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, extending its contract for the provision of event security services.

Gallowglass Security has worked with the world heritage site, Kew Gardens, for the last three years, offering security services for private and public events.

As befitting a site that is defined by its rich architectural splendour together with its remarkably diverse landscape and botanic collections; Kew Gardens is a stunning events venue capable of hosting all manner of private and corporate events that includes weddings, birthday parties and receptions, as well as conferences award ceremonies and commercial film shoots.

The lustrous and elegant style that characterises Kew Gardens makes it a premier event venue in both London and the UK. The unique range and beauty of the gardens landscape is an unrivalled backdrop for commercial film production, with the gardens offering immense versatility, scope and accessibility for film producers.

Gallowglass Security’s Managing Partner, Giles Turnbull, said: “The decision to extend Gallowglass Security’s contract with Kew as the sole event security provider, is a real vindication of the professionalism of our approach and an endorsement of our capability to deliver our event security services to the highest possible industry standards.”

Giles continued, “with the Covid virus in retreat, and the green shoots of recovery on the horizon for the events and hospitality sector, we look forward immensely to playing our part in the restoration of the creative and vibrant events sector at Kew Gardens.” 

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant and fungal diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction and was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2003.

Private event security

Private Event Security: Top 5 questions answered

As COVID rules slowly ease, and more venues look to host events, we are asked what our approach is to private event security.

Many prospective customers ask what the difference is between private and public events; how much security is needed and what does a private event security guard do at an event? In order to make our prospective client’s life easier, we asked Nick Kostov to answer the top questions we receive. However, if you are looking to organise an event please do call us.

What is private event security?

At Gallowglass Security we provide the physical security and security planning for private events. The Private events we support are usually for an exclusive and limited group of people. The events attendance is set to a limited number of guests or members of a family, organization, or club and the event is not open to the public. In Gallowglass Security’s case we offer security for AGMs, EGMs, private birthday parties, weddings, office parties and conferences.

How do you secure an event?

These special private events require specialist events security and staff.  We work closely with the events organisers to secure the event, ensuring a full and thorough risk assessment and much more. The professionals of the security service are trained to act in emergency situations and bring a situation under control.

Our hope is that you will not notice us which can be brought about by careful planning and through experience.

With the right security practices, we help ensure the safety of guests and staff, but also the protection of property.

How much security is needed for an event?

This will depend on the type of event, the number of guests and the location. The number of security guards will be decided after a full risk assessment. Generally speaking, one security guard per 100 guests is used as a guide; however, this will really depend on the guests being protected.

When assessing the number of security guards needed for an event we take into consideration the event space. Small rooms require less guards, compared with an event that has multiple rooms and outside space.

Providing the right number of guests to ensure the safety of the attendees and the property is crucial. Getting it wrong can mean your event is memorable for all the wrong reasons.

What does an event security guard do at a private event?

Private event security guards have multiple roles at a private event. Ordinarily, your first interaction with an event security guard will be when you check into the event. All attendees will be screened and given authorisation to access and enjoy the event. Following this, it is our hope that you will not have to see us again; however, on occasion we may need to pro-actively deal with any problems. We protect the premises during the event by completing activities, such as; looking for signs of crime, identifying trespassers, apprehending criminals and carry out patrols of the entire venue.

If you are the event organiser then we will work closely with you. We will report any issues we identify and record any incidents that require the security team to act.

How do you plan the security for a private event?

When preparing security for a private event we undertake a rigorous planning process. Our priority is to ensure that your event is well protected. Following an event we always undertake a review, helping us understand what went well and where there are areas to improve the service.

Ordinarily, prior to an event, we assess the threat, vulnerability and risk faced by the event. We consider multiple factors, such as the type of event, location, attendees and the issues happening around an event that may impact its attendees.

We consider events from all angles ensuring our team is well briefed and fully understand the multiple factors that could impact the safety of the event attendees.

Following our thorough assessment we develop an operations plan which shapes the way we manage the private event’s security.

Every member of staff has a clearly defined role at the event, whether they are working in small groups or collectively. In the case of an emergency, we will have contingency plans, ensuring the safety and security of all attendees is maintained.

The father of tropical medicine – Sir Patrick Manson 1844-1922 – 21 Queen Anne Street Marylebone

One of our most interesting and challenging assignments is based in Marylebone on behalf of the Howard de Walden Estate. The teams are tasked with providing street-based security and support services to all tenants and visitors to the area. These include medical facilities on Harley street, a diverse range of retailers on Marylebone High Street and an enviable selection of restaurants on Marylebone Lane. The teams are also there to respond to concerns of residents who call the area home.

Our teams have seen an increase in work load and a changing dynamic during the pandemic, their essential work has been key to supporting all estate users in a way that is beyond simply security. These duties include working with outreach teams to identify and contact rough sleepers to producing detailed vacant property inspections (VPI’s) for buildings temporally closed, giving those working remotely on the ground information quickly for a wide range of scenarios.

Whilst visiting the team it is easy to be intrigued by a great number of blue plaques that dot many of the buildings. One of these plaques is found on 21 Queen Anne Street in memory of a distant cousin of the explorer David Livingstone; Sir Patrick Manson. Born in Scotland, he proved to be gifted, not only at his academic studies but a great number of sports; perhaps most unusually for a Scotsman, even cricket. His ability academically was extraordinary, when he passed his medical degree aged 19, he was still too young to formally graduate.

On graduation he worked for a short time in Durham before moving to Taiwan. This was the start of his world changing research into tropical medicine, the effects of which are still with us today.

After his time in Taiwan, he moved to Amoy on the Chinese coast, where he became fully fluent in Mandarin and began his research into malaria. This is where he made his world changing discovery by identifying the link between malaria and mosquitos.

In 1889 he returned to the UK and took up residence at 21 Queen Anne Street and where his work continued. Joining the royal collage of physicians and becoming a chief medical officer on tropical illnesses to the government, he was also Instrumental in the foundation of The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This remarkable organisation which he helped create is today providing research, information and on the ground action in the global struggle against COVID19.

Sir Patrick Manson saved countless lives in his own life time, as a result of his research into malaria the numbers of lives saved is countless millions and now nearly 100 years since his death his legacy continues to save many more.

Sir Patrick’s work resonated with us. While Gallowglass Security cannot offer medical expertise, we do support those that can; whether this be supporting the GLA and housing the homeless, working to protect the test facility in Brockwell Park, ensuring the hotels hosting returning travellers are kept safe, or providing expert health and safety advice to up-and-coming events organisations, we are dedicated to helping others, just like Sir Patrick Manson.