BLOG: My path to and experience at the AEV Security Working Group
"I shared my experiences with the AEV Security Working Group and explained why collaboration on security through the group was beneficial for all the venues that took part"
written by Benn Higginson, Assistant Events Manager - EventCity
Event security and crowd safety are hot topics of discussion in the business event industry. Throughout the years, event planners and venues have invested in new technology and innovations to ensure maximum safety. However, after recent terrorist incidents worldwide, event security has become more important than ever and often leaves industry specialists with plenty of questions about the future.
Here at EventCity, security is a key focus. As one of the largest venues in the North, welcoming thousands of people to our events, our overriding priority is to ensure the safety of all our guests and staff. To do so, it is important that our staff have access to full training and continual professional development in event security and crowd safety management. The AEV Security Working Group session in London last month, during Security & Counter Terror Expo, provided important information regarding recent security matters across the event industry and an opportunity to exchange relevant knowledge and expertise.
As an Event Manager at EventCity, I had the opportunity to attend the meeting and was able to contribute my experience and my knowledge on the subject, and hear the views and questions of others.
I began my career as a steward 10 years ago, for one of the largest UK security companies at the time. After demonstrating dedication and eagerness to learn, I was quickly promoted, and completed the SIA DS course in order to obtain the required security knowledge and training. I have worked for large, high-profile events in various venues and stadiums, including LCCC and Salford City Stadium, before joining EventCity as a security guard, where I quickly progressed to Event Coordinator, responsible for creating and implementing action plans to make the venue safer.
One of the first jobs I undertook was to liaise with the Counter Terrorism Security Advisory Team of the Greater Manchester Police. I have been working with them for a number of years implementing policies and procedures, training staff and making sure all the right actions are being taken.
During my time at EventCity, I have also received further training in Public Safety, First Response Emergency Care (FREC 3), Health and Safety in the Workplace training certified by IOSH, as well as Public Space Surveillance, Security Advancement, Operations Management, Customer Service, Risk Management, Strategic Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution. For me, the key to a security team being able to ensure safety and dissolve escalating situations is to be proactive, use good customer service skills and be as approachable as possible.
I shared my experiences with the AEV Security Working Group and explained why collaboration on security through the group was beneficial for all the venues that took part. All participants had the opportunity to exchange opinions, methods and equipment used in their venues to ensure maximum security and safety. AEV Security Working Group gave all venue representatives the opportunity to learn about security culture and its importance.
Security is a sensitive issue and it's vital to openly discuss it with other venues. I believe that safety and security are paramount concerns where every detail must be closely scrutinised. At EventCity, we are proud to be members of AEV and to contribute to the working group, where the collective expertise and experience of many venues is represented in one place.
The session highlighted areas of concern and steps to prevent them, ensuring that the measures are widely shared amongst venues. Investing in appropriate training for every venue team was one of the many outcomes from the discussions that took place at the AEV meeting. Continuous training is fundamental, but just being certified is not enough. Keeping up with the latest developments in event security, reading and attending seminars, and interacting with professionals with a wealth of experience in the industry are also highly important for every security team.
Thanks to the AEV, all venues benefited from learning about new tactics and procedures that they may never have been informed of, as well as the manner in which they are implemented by each venue. In addition, gaining knowledge on how security equipment and practices help one venue will ultimately assist in similar elements being implemented by others to improve security and safety practices across the industry. We look forward to taking part in the next AEV meeting in July, which will be a combined meeting with the Security group from the NAA.
For more information about the AEV Security Working Group and future meeting dates, visit https://www.aev.org.uk/security-working-group.
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