Tuesday 28 May 2019


What could I do better?

What could be done to make my event better/safer?

When you visit our website and click on the "our philosophy" button you will see the above image.

As part of this at One Team we are happy to review your plans before your event and to make recommendations and to revise your plans (should you wish us to).

During the event if we need to update plans or to revise or respond to circumstances we do this.

As part of our post event work we will always conduct a full review.  This includes the following questions:

  • What went well?
  • What could have been done better?
  • What would we change?
  • What would be redesign?

The above are not an exhaustive list but are the main questions that we ask when reflecting back on the event.  Even when an event goes well there are always things that could be done better, improvements that could be made.

We will use this as part of our planning when (or if) we assist you in planning your event next year and each year thereafter.

Sunday 14 April 2019

First Impressions

When an attendee first arrives at an event the first interaction that they have with a representative of the event is when they approach the event site and encounter event safety or security staff.

How the next few minutes go can frame that attendees whole event experience.

To optimise the attendees experience there first impression needs to be a good one.  This then sets the tone for there entire time at an event.  It also means that if you need to speak with them later or challenge there behavior that they are likely to be more receptive.

So, it is all about the little things.  Greet them.  Talk with them.  Understand that this could be there first visit to the site so perhaps mention where facilities that may be of interest to them are located.

Ask yourself a simple question.  If I was this person how would I like to be treated and what would wow me.  Once you have the answer to this question then you also have the guide on how to treat them.

If you don't create a good first impression then this can cause problems. 

The attendee can become aggressive or enter the event in a bad mood or with the impression that event staff are "jobsworths".  This in turn can effect every other interaction with staff during there presence at the event.

As an example many years ago I was working a football game where the rules were that children could sit on sponsor boards so long as they were being supported by an adult behind them.  During the first half a member of the event staff had spoken with a supporter who had two children and was only supporting them both partially.  There interaction did not go well.

When I was patrolling through in the second half I found the same person in the same situation.  When the attendee saw me he responded very aggressively.  The behavior was such that I could quite legitimately have him ejected or arrested.

Instead, I moved alongside him, pointed to a  group of event safety staff in the corner and told him that my boss thinks that I'm talking with you the fact that your children can't both be on the boards whilst you are standing here alone.  Not to worry though because I have a sneaky suspicion that our conversation is going to finish around the time when you are no longer alone.

Thankfully this managed to defuse the situation but it was one that could have been avoided had the first impression been better.

Sunday 7 April 2019

I want to say yes.

One of the greatest challenges that can face an Event Safety Manager is when an organiser, vendor or other party springs a surprise addition to an event.  This can be an additional attraction, a last minute addition to a running order or any other kind you can think of.

As part of my job I have to assess this surprise and consider the consequences to other parts of the event and to the demand on my available safety resources.

There are times when I have to say no to such plans on safety grounds.  This is not something that I want to do and at times can cause further issues.  My preferred course of action is to find a way that I can say yes.

The more notice that I am given the better chance I have of saying yes and setting about mitigating any identified risks.

I don't want to have to say no and I will only ever do so as a last resort but I am quite prepared to do so.

Having said that and to be clear.  It is your event and if you insist that something is going to happen then you can overrule me.  Overruling me though has it's own consequences and risks.

I will ask you to complete paperwork to the effect that you are going ahead against my advice.  At this stage I will also leave site.  This in effect can close your event as my presence (or the presence of an Event Safety Manager) may be part of the licence or conditions of your event.

To protect against this I will usually look to agree a deadline prior to the event when everything is locked in.

I also do this as I want to say yes.  I want to work with you to put on a safe event.  I also want to continue working with you for any future events as well.

Sunday 31 March 2019

Event Safety -Training

In last weeks blog we talked about qualifications.  Today I want to talk about training.

There are many skills that you need in event safety and as the role has moved on during my time the list increases.

Some of these skills people have and they may just need sharpening.  Other skills are hidden and they need to be coaxed out.  Some need to be taught.

Personally speaking I have always said and indeed will always say so long as you have the basic building blocks then I can train and teach the rest.

So what are the skills:

  • Customer Service
  • Observation skills
  • Tact and diplomacy
  • A good sense of humour
  • Patience
  • An ability to not take things personally
  • Professionalism

The above is not an exhaustive list but if you can say that you have the above then you certainly have the building blocks that I am referring to.

So, let's take each of these one at a time.

Customer Service

When I first started in Event Safety I was taught that I was there for safety and security and not customer service.  My job was to make sure that everything was safe and if that meant being blunt then so be it.

Nowadays though the accepted thinking is dramatically different.  In 99% of events an attendees first interaction with a representative of the event is when they interact with event safety and security staff.

That first interaction can set the tone.  By using your customer service skills, greeting the attendee, responding to there questions and indeed being proactive and advising where points of interest are you can effect the mood of that attendee.

If they enter the event in a good mood and can see the human side of event safety staff then if you do need to challenge them later there is a better chance that you will get a positive outcome.

Observation Skills

For event safety and security staff these are very important and are definitely one that will need sharpening and focusing.

From the moment you arrive at the event site to the moment that you leave you will use your powers of observation.

This can be from doing pre event checks, to watching a queue of arriving attendees, to monitoring an area or group of attendees to the post event checks.

As time goes on you will learn to read people and there body language.  You can even get to the point where you know what that person is thinking at pretty much the same time as they do.

This is not a skill that can be taught from a book but through experience.  I can teach the signs to look for based on my experience and indeed will do.

Tact and Diplomacy

There are occasions where you will need to use both of these in dealing with certain circumstances.  If you are not capable of using these skills then it will hamper your ability to do the job.

If you embarrass an attendee then this can come back on you and can cause them to become aggressive and for a situation to escalate.   

A good sense of humour

Now it probably won't surprise you to read that this is one that I can't train.  I can't teach you to have a good sense of humour.

It does help you to do the job though and so I have included it on the list.

This sits side by side with your customer service skills and can be invaluable in building a rapport with attendees.

Also, at times it can help defuse situations especially if you are able to laugh at yourself.


This is very important.  There are times when you want to go into a situation to deal with it but in doing so you could make it worse.  It can be because to go in on your own would put you at risk or you have to wait for CCTV resource or Police backup.

Sometimes it can be that an attendee has caught your eye but they haven't stepped far enough over the line to warrant action being taken against them yet.  You know what is about to happen but you have to let it play out.

I once spent a whole football match watching an attendee that I knew had snuck alcohol into the stand.  I knew I had seen it but I had to wait to see it again before I reported it just in case I was wrong.  There are after all some soft drinks that are served in green bottles.

When the event finished I went straight to that persons seat and sure enough there was the alcohol.  It turns out I had seen him drinking the last dregs of his beer.

An ability to not take things personally and professionalism

I've included these together as what I have to say about them is pretty much the same.

There will be times when you will have attendees get in your face.  They will be rude to you, make suggestions about your parentage and call you a jobsworth and worse besides.

Football fans have a song that they like to sing to you about getting a proper job.

As much as these insults can be personal and they do hurt you cannot take them that way.  You have to let it go and move on with your job.

Of course that does not apply to anything that can be construed as of a racial or homophobic nature.  This is never acceptable and anyone engaging in this should be dealt with immediately.

I have had times where people have spent most of the game watching me rather then the game that they originally purchased there ticket for.  It happens.

Especially during high stakes games when fans are tense the steward in the fluorescent jacket that it asking them to comply with the ground regulations is the straw that breaks the camels back and you cop it.

If it is excessive or as I said above of a racial or homophobic nature then the person has to go but you have to deal with it professionally and within the rules.

When I teach and train event staff these are the things that I focus on.  I also encourage reflective learning.  Review your performance and ask yourself could you have dealt with every situation you were involved in today differently.  Would you knowing the outcome do it differently?

Even after all of my years involved in event safety I still reflect on each event and pick up on things that I could improve on.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Event Safety - Qualifications

Unless you have certain qualifications it is highly unlikely that Event Safety is a full time job for you.  Most event safety staff are employed either as contractors or on zero hours contracts.

There is the potential to make money but you could quite easily find yourself working a lot of hours to do so.

Event safety especially at an entry level will tend to attract people looking for some extra money around other commitments.  For example students or as was the case for me someone looking to make a few extra pounds whilst learning and honing a specific skill.

In my case I fell in love with the job and twenty two years later I'm still doing it.  That said during that time I've said goodbye to a number of great colleagues whose careers outside of event safety have taken off to the point that they can't do both and event safety has lost out.

The fact that I am now in the positions that I am will I'm sure tell you that as well as doing the job I have put a lot into my professional development.  For the record, I hold a NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Spectator Safety Management and the NCRQ Level 6 certificate in Applied Health and Safety with merit.  I also have over the years taken other courses that are now defunct and no longer recognised.

If you are going to be in event safety for a sustained period then you will need to obtain a qualification in event safety.  Currently this is the NVQ2 in Spectator Safety.  As is always the way this may change later this year but as things stand at the moment this is the course that you need.

To pass this course you will need to produce a portfolio of evidence of you doing the job and to demonstrate a level of competence in doing so.  Your NVQ assessor and training college will help you to do this.

Depending on your aspirations there are other additional courses that you can do to take your learning further and to potentially gain access to higher level jobs within event safety but if you are happy at an entry level then the NVQ 2 is the one for you.

If you are considering going further in the first instance I would encourage you to speak with one of the people that are doing the job that you covet.  Personally speaking I'm always happy to speak with members of my team that want my job.  I will mentor and guide them and assist them in any way that I can.  Why?  It's simple.  When I leave that job for the next one I know that there is someone there that can deliver for me and will do so to my standards.

Saturday 16 March 2019

Entering the field of play in Football. Is it illegal?

We all saw what happened last weekend both at Arsenal and at Birmingham with spectators deciding to enter the field of play.

Over the years I have had to deal with spectators entering the field of play on a number of occasions.  Without a moments hesitation that person has to be removed from the stadium.  Sometimes though they manage to get back into the stands and there fellow supporters will try to actively stop you getting to that person and ejecting them.

Where you have the benefit of CCTV you can track an individual and seek to eject them later.  Alternatively, if you have the resources and it is safe to do so you can go into the stand and eject them from the stand.

Where it is a Policed game you can hand the individual to the Police there and then for them to take action.  If it is a Police free game then you may want to either try to obtain details of the individual or at least capture a photograph of the person to enable the Police to take retrospective action.

What annoyed me the most last weekend though was listening to football pundits saying that entering the field of play should be illegal.  It already is!!

As you can see from the above it is an offence under the Football (Offences) Act 1991 and yes even if you don't make it to the grass but enter any area adjacent to the grass you still commit the same offence.

If you are found guilty (or plead guilty) then the punishment you can expect is a fine of up to £1,000.00.  You may also find that you are subject to a Football Banning Order.  This can be in place for anything from three years to five years.

A banning order will mean that you are required to surrender your passport when asked by the enforcing authority and then report to a Police station during any control period.

A control period is likely to be anytime a high profile event such as the World Cup is on but is not restricted to this. 

You could also find that you are forbidden from coming within a certain distance of a named stadium from two hours before to two hours after an event or from using the rail network without the prior approval of the British Transport Police.

There may be further restrictions imposed as well.

On top of the above you may find that you receive a club ban as well.  This including the length of any such ban is completely at the sole discretion of the club. 

You may also find that your club, the club that you love may end up facing a FA charge based on your actions.  The FA may decide to fine your club, force them to play behind closed doors or deduct points as punishment.  This in itself could open up a whole number of issues and potentially could cost the club either a league title or may be the difference between the club staying up or being relegated.

I'm not going to dwell on the above any further or to debate the fairness of the club facing the above sanctions as that in itself could be a separate blog and is not in keeping with what I want this blog to be about.

I will however bring this blog to a close by answering the question posed at the beginning.  Yes, it is.

Saturday 9 March 2019

Keep it simple

I can spend a lot of my time thinking and planning.  Imagining different scenarios and risks and making plans to mitigate, minimise or remove them.

The challenge sometimes can be knowing when to take a moment and to not over complicate things.  Sometimes a control that is in place for one thing can also cover off other things at the same time.

The other challenge can be ensuring that your staff are clear on what they are required to do.  If your plans are not clear and simple then there is an increased risk that staff may struggle to action your plans.  

As such I will tend to keep somewhere between eighty and ninety percent of my plans to myself or just between myself and my deputy.  Not because I don't want to share it but just to keep things simple.  Although sometimes it can be because that it is now evident that a particular scenario isn't now going to come to pass and so my plan for dealing with it is no longer needed.

The plans are usually written down and form a part of the event contingency plans. 

The plans are also living documents and are reviewed and revised (if any revision is needed) on a regular basis.  This can be annually or after they are required.