Ahead of the Game

    Andy Haslam CPP rounds up five reasons why you should hire your event security early
    A professional security provider will maximise safety and security, and ultimately save you money.
    A professional security provider will maximise safety and security, and ultimately save you money.
    Andy Haslam CPP, managing partner at ASK International.
    Andy Haslam CPP, managing partner at ASK International.


    It’s 2pm and the email arrives: “Dear Sirs, we would like a quotation for 40 security staff for our event taking place in… three days’ time”. What is wrong with this, you may ask? From a professional security provider’s perspective - too much.

    Approaching the question of security at this late stage could prevent a professional firm from providing a well-planned service and it can end up costing you more than necessary. Indeed, they should turn you down straight away if it compromises their professional integrity. From an unprofessional provider’s perspective, however, this is great! It demonstrates the organiser is not aware of what they can get from a security firm and, in effect, they are merely looking for manpower suppliers. They can be charged a premium rate without having to deliver the overarching management support a truly professional company would look to provide.

    The aim of hiring security should be to remove the headache of safety planning and security management from you, the event organiser/promoter/producer, so that you can concentrate on what you do best; putting on an excellent show.

    Here are five reasons why hiring your security provider early will be of great benefit to you, your event, and your reputation.

    Hire the best
    Starting the process of selecting your security provider as early as possible allows you time to select the best for the job. Each and every security provider has a different aspect to ‘bring to the party’ and you need to ensure they can match most, if not all, of your criteria. Don’t provide them with the number of security staff required. By all means have that in mind but they should have the knowledge and expertise to assess it. Naturally, you will need to provide more information. Again, get them to ask for it.

    Get support with planning
    Once you have made your selection and appointed your provider(s), they should work with you to develop the security plan for the event. It is then used to show your preparedness to government and licensing agencies. Each plan should be bespoke to your event and not — as is often the case — generic to the venue. Every event is different. Even a different day of the week affects security and this should reflect in the plan.

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    Cost effective
    A professional security provider will maximise safety and security, and ultimately save you money. This is relative and oftentimes it is the initial budget forecast that fails to take into account what is required. Professional security providers are not the cheapest on the market, however, a truly professional provider can assist you — usually at no additional cost — with venue design (Mojo barrier vs. Police barrier, access control, search, etc.), accreditation and the professional assessment of requirements. The biggest benefit being; what could take you days can be accomplished in hours, saving you time and money.

    Assistance with licences and authorities
    Your ideal security provider should have the history and reputation to be able to address licensing and other governmental-related security matters. They should be able to assist you when dealing with the Police, Civil Defence, Medical or any other related government agency. They can’t do it all for you but they should be instrumental in advising and supporting you with the process.

    Integral part of the event management team
    Much of what you want to achieve for your event is impacted by security issues. It can also be enhanced by professional security being on board from an early stage. This will enable common sense solutions to be applied from the outset rather than attempting to bolt them on at the end. For example, management of crowd flow post-event. Often the foot is taken off the gas once the event ends, with little or no attention to post-event issues such as pedestrian exit, car park flow, public transport, etc. If the event attendees have had a great show but are then stuck in traffic or cannot get a taxi, they leave with a bad taste. It can jeopardises your reputation and causes more issues for the authorities and the venue’s neighbours. By having the security provider as an integral part of the event management team, they can design and build into the plans an enhanced egress flow. They can advise on signage and routes, re-deploy manpower to cater for the shift in crowd and should also have the presence of mind to see the event through to its conclusion, i.e. when the venue and its surrounding areas are clear.

    It is a sad fact that security is becoming, if it’s not already, a major part of our lives. Not just in the region but globally. It impacts on every aspect of our life and the event world — or any mass gathering — is no stranger to this. A professional security provider will assist in all aspects of your planning and execution process but you need to pick the best available within your market. Get them involved from an early stage, ensure that they do the work and allow them to become integral to your event management team. You will have more time and energy to concentrate on what you do best… now it’s ShowTime!

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