As I think most of the world is now aware, there was a little "security event" at Old Trafford on Sunday... and if you were really unfortunate you may have seen or heard Discreet Help boss Brian Painter on BBC Breakfast, Sky Sports News, ITV 6 and 10 o'clock News, Channel 5 news, Granada Reports News, BBC NI Radio, Key 103 Radio, BBC 5 Live Radio, Talk Radio and a written article in goal.com also... (yes it was that many), discussing as impatially as possible his opinion on what could have possibly gone wrong. As the time wore on, little snippets of information were released by the club and the owner of the unfortunate
As soon as the story started to break on Sunday afternoon, many questions were already being asked. Thankfully it quickly after a swift and praise where it is due, a textbook evacuation. 50,000 plus fans evacuated, cordons quickly established and a sense of calm in general. This is generally only ever practiced as a table top excercise, so it was a unique opportunity and demonstrated a good level of competency amongst the security and stewarding staff. This type of drill has many working parts and from an outside persepective it seemed to work efficently and quickly.
Now for the but.... and it is a big but, and I in the many soundbites aired, went into the downfall of the whole operation was the contractor brought in to do the Dog searching excercise the previous Wednesday. So the blame does lie at that contractors door, or is it a shared responsibility with the incumbent security and stewarding team? Was it lack of adequate training, poorly paid and lacking motivation, inexperience, and complacency. A subject of much debate and something I stressed in every interview that I did, although not all broadcasted.
One thing I was asked was "do you think mistakes happen more often than we are told" my answer was of course they do. It was rather unfortunate that the latest event happend to one of the largest football clubs in the world and on the last day of the season with the worlds press on the scene already.
In general terms the quality of training and standards of operation not only in sporting based security but across the board need to be improved substantially. It is a topic of much debate amongst fellow professionals, and one that has been discussed by the SIA, but they do not have the resources to even attempt to address this issue. Whilst its a regulated industry the authority has done little or nothing to address poor training, poor wages, inexperienced companies and employees taking on work they are ill prepared to conduct.
Having taken part in a documentary for the BBC regarding illegal licences and poor standards of training, the problem is pandemic, and unless business and individuals conduct thorough due diligence on who they are employing and ensuring they are capable of completing the work in hand, then this cycle will continue. It is incumbent on all professionals that they maintain the highest standards, conduct regular training, just because youve done it before, doesnt mean you dont need refresher training on a regular basis. Like going to the gym, it gets easier the more often you attend.
Ask questions, try new things, dont be afraid to raise your hand and question things if you believe they are wrong.
Mistake will never be elminated, its is part of human nature, but as the job implies, its about managing risk... managing risk is when you know the outcome, gambling is when you dont.
I'll leave with it with something I saw somewhere and wrote down so I can't take any of the credit but it does ring true somewhat.
“Boardrooms often still look at Corporate Security from a 3G's perspective, being Guns, Guards, and Gates or in other words focusing all too much on the 'Corporate Cop' image. Instead, it should be seen from a 4P's concept: Policies, Protocols, (best) Practices, and Procedures, where the Security Department serves as a critical business partner and security adviser” – Unknown 2016