The hospitality industry has faced many challenges in recent years, not least after being shut down through the COVID-19 pandemic, but one continuous problem is that of security. CCTV cameras can only do so much, and so many businesses still opt to have a physical presence on site. These physical security guards can help to prevent crimes and accidents and have a long history of being very successful in their roles.
Many businesses are now looking for ways in which they can improve their physical security in order to increase the safety and confidence of both staff and customers. This includes protecting themselves from new threats as well as old ones and so we have taken a look at some of the best methods.
Here Jo Botton, Sales Manager at Newgate, shares her insights into physical security in the hospitality industry.
The role of physical security
Physical security guards can play a number of different roles in the hospitality industry, and we have all become used to seeing them positioned outside doors or within different venues night after night. Traditionally, physical security guards have been known for keeping order in queues outside bars and clubs and dealing with those who get a little rowdy. They are there to ensure that everyone in the queue remains safe, whether it is from thieves, violence or even the adverse effects of drugs, alcohol or the weather.
They will also help to ensure that any unwanted visitors do not get into your business. Whether they are malicious individuals or simply someone who is a little the worse for wear, they will ensure that anyone who might cause a problem is kept out, so that customers can enjoy their evening in safety.
Physical security guards are also there for emergencies, whether this is from an individual or an event such as a fire. They can help to manage a situation and prevent injury, damage and loss of life.
Improving physical security
It might seem obvious, but there is a certain safety in numbers. If you feel that your security efforts need to be improved, then simply including more people can help. One person can only cover a certain amount of ground and so the more pairs of eyes there are in a situation, the easier it becomes to spot hazards and manage situations.
You should also look at the training that your security guards receive as a way to improve. They will need to be kept aware of the latest tricks and scams that are on the rise in order to be able to spot them and deal with them correctly. Training should also include the best ways for security guards to keep themselves safe and how to tackle someone who is causing a problem.
They also need to be trained to look out for a range of potential emergencies and how to deal with them. For example, offering first aid or fire safety training can be life saving, as security guards are often the first people on the scene.
It is also important that you develop a good relationship with the local police force. They will not only come to your rescue in the event of an incident, but can also work with your security team to identify any issues, spot weak points and help keep everyone aware of what or who they need to keep any eye out for.
One thing that is vital in any form of security, is to have full and proper policies and procedures. Everyone needs to know exactly how they are expected to behave in the event of an incident. This includes what they should and should not say, what they are allowed to do and how they should report anything that might have occurred. These processes all need to be available in writing so that anyone can refer to them at any time and you can be sure that they are being followed if a complaint is made.
One of the most common issues that a security guard might face is theft and so they need to be aware of the different ways this might occur in your business. They need to understand if they are looking for pickpockets ore someone trying to remove furniture from a hotel room. They should be trained to deal with people who enter through the front door as well as those who think they can come in through the back door or a window.
Verbal abuse is also common, and your security needs to understand how to deal with this in a calm and detached way. Meeting aggression with aggression only succeeds in escalating issues and so you need to ensure that everyone is training in diplomacy and conflict management in order to diffuse difficult situations with a minimum of hassle and drama.
Sometimes security guards also need to be aware of the threats from within. Sadly, it is not always customers that would wish to do us harm, and so a careful eye needs to be kept on staff too. Workers are sometimes in the best position to commit acts of theft or fraud and so your security team needs to be aware of this and the best way in which to deal with it should the situation occur.
Your physical security guards are your experts in many times of crisis, so they should be the ideal people to carry out drills for the rest of your staff. They should be able to simulate a number of different scenarios and train staff in what to do. This could be everything from a fire drill to an active shooter situation.
Whilst much of this might seem extreme, it is very important that your security is top notch when you work in the hospitality industry. The people who spend money in your establishment need to be protected from violence, theft and abuse amongst other things, and they need to be able to feel safe when they visit you. A trained security team offer that peace of mind and can act as a huge deterrent to anyone who might be tempted to misbehave.