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The Little Blue Badge

A Perspective From A Security Insider

For those of you who are outside the security industry, let me explain about the little blue badge, In 2001 it was passed through parliament that all door supervisors within England & Wales must be regulated by 2003, this meant all door supervisors would be required to attend a 4 day course, apply to the newly formed Security Industry Authority and be thoroughly vetted before they would be issued a door supervision licence “the little blue badge” this process would take on average 6-12 weeks and cost the individual between £350 - £490 it became open house for training companies up and down the country to print money. Charging any fee for training they could get away with, although the SIA registration fee had been set at £190 nobody regulated the training costs.

After spending over two decades within the security sector, I noticed a dramatic decline in the competence of new door supervisors joining the industry, this was not due, in most cases to their physical stature, but focused primarily on the training they had received prior to employment. After a study was carried out across all security sectors, two in particular stood out with one being a clear winner; Door Supervision. It became clear that the newly formed SIA had missed the target. Although the academic quality of the new breed of trainer had increased dramatically they had not taken “reality” into account when composing the new course structures, they may be great instructors, and hats off to them for passing there new fangled courses and certification exams, but where did the real life experience go, past down from instructor to pupil, I’m not saying all instructors have no experience, but they are in decline.

Who has ever seen a pub brawl or the drunken lout taking a swing, yes at some time or another I think we all have, but who dealt with this, who watched your back? Yes it was the gorilla in the corner the hard man dressed in black and white, usually not the most friendly or charismatic of individuals, but got the job done. You felt safe and that was his job. Now look around, in most cases the gorillas have gone and been replaced by the most charming people you could ever wish to meet, great to talk to, will hold the door open or assist the glass collector. Do you feel safe and secure in the knowledge that this individual, employed to protect you, attended a four day course for which he attained top marks on his tick test that had been delivered by an instructor with no real life experience. He may have never been in a fight or experienced violence and has received no formal training in how to deal with such a situation, but he’s cute and loveable. Do you ever get the feeling that the words security & door supervisor, require a little more than this.

You may feel that my last comments were in fact quite harsh, and you would be fully justified in thinking so, unfortunately I’ve been around violence all my life, this you may say is not a good thing, but it was men like me that stepped in when things went wrong or a problem had escalated beyond your control. I’m not a thug, I don’t command respect I gain it and yes I did open doors say hello, goodnight and treat everybody with respect, but if needed I got the job done!

With the industry becoming fully regulated the SIA hit the events market, not as you would of thought by introducing a new license or new training, but utilising the current 4 day courses set out for door supervisors & static guards. As with anyone who does not understand their subject matter they dodged questions and repeatedly avoided the actual needs of the industry. Any event whether green field, stadium or venue has as much in common with a pub door as Hells Angel and a 50cc moped, you cannot compare the two. I have attended all courses indorsed by the SIA from static guarding to close protection, there is no mention of a mass gathering, crowd collapse, moshing or in fact any mass gathering related incident “where is stage left again?” how can these individuals be expected to keep in line with the SIA’s mission statement “to always promote best practice within the security industry”, If this was true we would see specialist training being introduced for individuals carrying out these roles. A good friend of mine JC who has been involved with the event industry for many years as an event health & safety officer emigrated recently to Australia and has been carrying on his normal duties within the event sector all be it in a different country. We got together on his last visit and the discussion soon fell onto training, he said “in Australia you must be licensed and trained in every role, from pit to response and steward to general security each team member must attain the relevant qualification to do the job. Yes it makes it harder when recruiting, but the standard of staff is so much higher”  so where is the industry going wrong? In my opinion the industry needs to adapt and take responsibility! Let’s start adopting our own regulated training schemes and increase the quality of our staff.

After 20 years I am still learning, and that will never stop, security is my life, it’s what I do!

The security industry is now inundated with under qualified individuals holding the little blue badge “how many of them would you want watching your back?” This is a question I will leave for you.

Article written By a seurity professional

Please note that this is an independant article and may not necessarily reflect the views/ opinions or values of Safeconcerts.

Your Ratings & Comments
Based on 1 rating
Written by Welfare Jane | 15th Jan 2009
I'm very glad that these issues have been highlighted in this article; the DoorSafe training is all very well where there is a door!
Smaller family-oriented events, without main arenas, have only recently been required to apply for licenses (2006), and inevitably the conditions require a large number of SIA trained security at a huge cost. These staff are often completely unfamiliar with outdoor events, and we in Welfare found we were dealing with problems created by security staff more often than being able to call on them for informed help.
Some firms make a real effort to give their staff extra training and support, but others seem to just play it by ear and hope for the best.
I took the standard training myself to study the problem, and we are designing an optional add-on training day for work at these smaller festivals - it seems that the same sort of training is required for larger ones, but there is a lot of pressure to keep thiings as they are.
I'd recommend Michael look at the web document 'Regulatory Impact Assessment of the SIA' found on the SIA website - sorry can't put up the link.
Our Medical Welfare website would be happy to publish details of any such add-on courses that become available, this is a problem that affects everyone in the event industry, including the untrained staff thrown in at the deep end!

Article Info

23rd November 2008
The Little Blue Badge
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