Security is and has always been an item of first importance that every nightclub, festival or event needs to address appropriately. This is even more so in this day and age with terrorism at the forefront of today’s global concerns, and with incidents unfortunately taking place at nightclubs and music venues throughout the world. It is alarming and frankly saddening that this year alone we have witnessed more of these violent acts being carried out than ever before, costing many lives in the process.
Unfortunately, there are venues and events that do not have a formidable security system in place, making them more vulnerable than others. And given the situation today, having lax security measures simply doesn’t cut it anymore. While it is understood that venue owners and event organizers have a lot of things to worry about, that should not be a reason to skimp on the security details, especially when lives are at stake.
Robert Smith, a security consultant, shared some simple ideas and actions for clubs to consider so they can better prevent or address any unfortunate incidents that could occurs in their premises.
When it comes to closed circuit TV systems, Smith follows a simple motto: if you think you have enough cameras, you don’t. So when installing a video surveillance system, be sure that an expert assists. This means you should not just take the word of the CCTV system company regarding where to place the cameras since they may have no clue what you need to capture.
It is important that the video system cover all exits, with extra coverage of the front door. Most importantly, your video system should not just record events but also save them. Use the system to not just diligently record but also to document the good and bad practices being done by personnel that work for your establishment, thus enabling you to make the necessary correction or commendation, whatever the case may be. In essence, everything that goes on in the club should be recorded, documented and be subject to a regular review.
It pays to be very diligent in checking out the background of anyone applying for a job in the nightlife industry. You should ensure that the applicant has a clean background, with no criminal records nor history that will be a problem when they work at your venue, since they will represent the business and deal with customers very often. Hiring the wrong person can cause you embarrassment and ultimately could result in failure for your entire establishment.
Given the social media age we find ourselves in, it is wise to look into the social media accounts of those you are looking to hire into your team. Hiring someone with a history of inflammatory, racist, xenophobic and homophobic posts on social media can backfire in ways you cannot imagine, ultimately causing major PR disasters that could even lead to your venue shutting down. It has happened before.
Holding safety inspections before the workday begins to proactively find and eliminate problems beforehand should be a given. After all, as they say, “prevention is better than cure.” This is particularly important in bigger venues, concert halls, etc
It should be a requirement for every business to have policy and procedure manuals. This will be a great help for management and employees so they know what to do in preventing and, when necessary, addressing incidents. It is also helpful so to show that the business has an established set of rules being followed at all times.
This is key considering the different kind of scenarios that could suddenly pop up on any given night. Your security staff needs to be ready to tackle any situation that may arise, ranging from fire to potential terrorist and everything in between.
One of the problems many nightclubs and venues face is that they hire and deploy too few security personnel than what is actually needed. This is one of the worst-managed areas within the entire hospitality industry. Hotels, nightclubs and bars all look at the position of a security guard as a necessary evil. Because of this, when things get tough for the business, security is the first to be cut. And that should not be the case. No matter what happens in the business, security must always make sure to cover the venue’s full capacity, entrances and exits, restrooms, dance or entertainment areas, VIP service areas, etc. Having enough security guards in one area is just not enough, every part of the venue must be covered and the number of guards should be adequate to handle any emergency that may come up.
Smith stresses that documenting any incident that could lead to litigation is crucial. “Emergency responders only will document what they need for a criminal investigation, if any. Besides, they might not ask the questions that can defend an operator during civil litigation, and frankly, they don’t care about any later civil investigation,” he explains.
For this reason it is very important to have a procedure and the proper tools to properly and immediately document any incidents that occur, as well as all the relevant details surrounding it.
Lastly, it is a must that every employee is given due and extensive training in various aspects that pertain to their duties. For example, the bartender should know how to handle a customer who consumed too much alcohol and should know how to defuse conflicts. Have your bartending staff complete a New York on-premise alcohol training to make sure they have the knowledge they need.
The security staff must know how to safely and legally detain and escort a guest from the venue. Training makes them better prepared for any situation and enables them to prevent them from escalating further, saving lives in the process.
Implementing these measures may be costly for the business in the short term. But it is a worthy investment that one cannot afford to skimp on. After all, lives are at stake and being able to ensure safety is not only for their benefit but for that of the business as well.