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Tag: #lockdown

Planning for a public event? Security is more than just a guard on the gate…

The security for public events has changed drastically over the last 10 years putting an increased premium on the role of Security  and security planning for an event.

In years gone by, security guards were largely hired to check tickets at the gate and walk the perimeter, but a security presence all over the event is now key to ensuring the event is a safe and fun experience for everyone.  

As events have become increasingly regulated and health and safety has become a critical factor at any event, security planning has become a corner stone of any public event. From your small free to enter community event in the local park, street parades or large music and entertainment events, the security planning process remains the same. Gone are the days that you would just calculate 1 guard per 100 visitors or just cover the emergency gates. Today’s planning is very thorough.

To help you think about how to plan your event and avoid the traps AJ Tracey fell into, in Manchester, here are some key points to consider, for example:

You must be familiar with your venue

By knowing the venue inside out you will be able to determine how porous the venue is, and this a key factor when determining the amount and type of event security you would need. This will also enable you to put your plan on paper by creating a diagram by position and task. Once you have created this dot plan you will be able to brief the guard deployed and they will be able to visualise the entire security strategy instead of just understanding their role on one position. For outdoor venues this will enable you to set boundaries and recommend any additional security solutions like temporary fencing, gates and so on.

Understand attendee risk

What type of event is it? Are there any attendees that can pose a risk or represent a company or movement that cause controversy that might lead to protest on confrontation? For out door events is there any other events, marches or protest in the vicinity of your event that might cause disruption or increased risk to your visitors?

Crowd Control

This is one of the main functions of the event security officer and they may be asked to perform some of the following tasks. Keeping key points of the site clear and moving by asking visitors that might be blocking an emergency exit, creating a cordon when dealing with an emergency, access control by checking tickets and searching bags, restricting access to back of hour and VIP areas. To name a few. It is also really important to ensure the venue or event never exceeds the venue capacity as this will cause overcrowding and may lead to serious injury or even death.

Assessing the potential of a terrorist or large-scale attack

Over the past ten years this has become a real risk for large outdoor events and festivals as they pose a soft target of large amounts of people gathered together with temporary infrastructure to protect them. It is because of this that we spend more and more time ensuring that we have HVM plans in place (Hostile vehicle mitigation), a robust searching setup and ensure that all the guards deployed have done as much training as possible to ensure that all parties involved have a firm understanding of what is expected of them and why the plans are in place. Following the Manchester bombings, a new law called Martyn’s Law, which will force event organisers and security suppliers to ensure that they have considered all potential risks and that a robust plan is in place before the event can go ahead.

Good communication is key

It is really important to have a good communications plan in place and also make sure you have other methods of communication in the event of an emergency. Keeping communication tight is vitally important to firstly make sure that the message goes to the right person and it is as clear and concise as possible, secondly to avoid misunderstanding and panic for example if they guard do not sue the correct code words and a member of the public hears a guard message to the control room as this can cause panic.

Venue/Event evacuation plan

This is a culmination of all of the above and the most important part of your Security plan/Strategy, and in my view it is what determines the minimum security numbers needed for the event.

Gallowglass Security take great pride in our event security planning and event security services. Events are in our DNA and with our years of experience there is very little we have not prepared for or dealt with. If you are considering a public event, please contact us to help you plan for a fun, safe event.

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.

Vacant Property Inspections (VPIs) in the time of Covid

As a result of the national lockdowns, offices have closed, retail properties are vacant and homeowners have deserted their city properties. Consequently, restaurants have closed their doors, retailers have moved online and the once busy city is empty, creating an unprecedented demand for VPIs.

What does VPI mean?

The term VPI stands for Vacant Property Inspections and in the last year it has become necessary for a far broader range of properties than it did pre-COVID-19.

Many of you may not be familiar with the term VPI, or the practical benefits of a regular vacant property inspection, but it may well effect you. A VPI is critical to property insurance providers, property managers, retail property owners and managers, office managers, building supervisors and even homeowners.

When a property is left unoccupied it may suffer damage, be vandalised even become occupied by squatters, leading you to call on your insurance provider to help resolve the issue. Issues such as fire caused by arson, damp caused by a leaking pipe, burglary due to a weak lock or broken window, squatters or even theft of the contents of the building are worryingly common side-effects of leaving a property empty.

Do I need to inspect my vacant property?

Unfortunately for many, in the event that you do not undertake a regular VPI, your insurance provider can reject any claim you make on the above issues, even if you feel it is covered by your agreement.

A large number of insurance providers expect a property to be inspected a minimum of once a week, checking for a range of issues and providing evidence that such an inspection has taken place. In some cases, without proof, insurance providers do not have to honour a repayment to the customer in the case of damage or theft.

Gallowglass Security’s Property team have seen an unprecedented rise in demand for VPIs. Pre-COVID-19, VPIs were ordinarily for properties that have just been sold or were pre-development. Typically, these properties were vacant for three months and generally considered low risk property. However, since March 2020, Gallowglass Security is now undertaking over 1000 vacant property inspections every month for private property owners through to large corporates.

Every client and every insurance provider has different demands as to how they want the empty property inspected and the VPI to take place. As a result, Gallowglass Security’s Property team provide clients with a tailored made experience based off our extensive knowledge, and the demands of the insurer’s contract.

How often should a vacant property be inspected?

We provide clients with a daily or weekly, fully digitalised, time-stamped report, featuring photography of all key areas of the building. Alongside this, we also provide our clients with bespoke services, whether this be forwarding mail, bleeding radiators, checking fridges or running the taps and ensuring that no pipes have frozen during these colder months and reducing chances of legionella. Clients have individual demands and our SIA licensed staff always look to accommodate these and ensure their inclusion in our reports.

For those that feel that this is not a concern, there are several horror stories that should act as a warning. One example of which is an empty warehouse that didn’t invest in a professional VPI service. It was reported to contain over 800 tonnes of rubbish, which had been illegally dumped there in 7 days. Due to a lack of reporting, this individual’s insurance provider was not obliged to pay-out and clear the mess left, leaving the owner with a bill over £100,000 to clear the rubbish from the vacant property. As you can imagine the financial cost of a regular VPI is significantly less, let alone the emotional cost.

For those who own a vacant property, whether this be an empty office, empty home or empty warehouse, Vacant Property Inspection Services should be top of your agenda. The effects of COVID are due to have an unprecedented effect on the economy, let alone the personal impacts. Don’t let damage to your vacant property become another burden on you.