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What is your venue's safety worth..?

Nov 4, 2013


The safety of patrons and staff in and around licensed premises has come under intense media and public scrutiny over the past year. In NSW for example, the Government introduced 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks laws across a new Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct as part of a crackdown on drug and alcohol-fuelled violence. ASIAL has been conducting a survey of NSW crowd controllers working in licensed premises and preliminary results have found that one third feel less safe performing their duties than they did a year ago. Among the top issues cited as fuelling this include preloading, the use of illicit drugs and steroids and changing community attitudes / behaviour.

Adopting a proactive risk management approach to venue safety is vital to the successful management of your business. In developing a management plan that sets out safety practices and procedures to address the risk specific to your venue, it is important to consider current management practices and procedures, and how these can be improved.

Getting the right security mix is crucial. In arriving at the best security solution for your business you need to understand the options available and the risks that you face. The following is a brief overview of some of the options available.

Alarm Systems

Monitored security alarm systems can provide early detection of potential burglars and duress protection for staff. These systems use sensors which detect and trigger an alarm at the control panel, the sensors used could include, passive infrared movement sensors (PIR) vibration sensors, glass break sensors, magnetic contacts. In the event of an alarm being activated the alarm system is typically attached to a telephone line, or other methods such as wired Internet Protocol (IP) and wireless General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) monitoring paths to provide in built redundancy. If one path is down, the other continues to transmit alarms, which is then used to send signals from the alarm control panel to a monitoring centre. The operators check what type of alarm is coming through and then take action by calling key holders, a patrol response or the police.

Monitoring Centres monitor when the alarm is being armed and disarmed, indicating open and close times. ASIAL operates a certification scheme for alarm monitoring centres in accordance with Australian Standard 2201.2:2004 (Intruder Alarm Systems - Monitoring Centres). The scheme provides customers with the reassurance that the standards applied at a monitoring centre are independently monitored. 

Access control systems are designed to provide the ability to control, monitor and restrict the movement of people, assets in and out of secure areas, whilst helping manage known or anticipated threats. Access Control is essential for licensees to protect staff and assets and can be scalable from a single entrance door to a large integrated security network. These systems have the potential to integrate other systems such as time and attendance, visitor management. These functions also reduce administration costs. The key components are:

•  The physical barrier, which are typically doors that are secured by either a magnetic or electric strike locks.

•  The identification devices offered use a number of different technologies, such as Proximity cards, smart cards, swipe cards, PIN code pads and gaining more market acceptance are Biometric products like finger print, facial recognition and Iris scanning for higher security sites.

•  The heart of the system is the door controllers and management software which are used to decide who can gain access, through what access point and at what time of day or night. The door controllers are linked together to a PC to control a site or a number of sites can be linked together over a (WAN) wide area network.

Not only can the access control system achieve its primary function of monitoring the flow of authorised personnel around the premises it can provide a wealth of data on which areas of the building are occupied and when. Identifying the usage of a building will greatly help in reducing power consumption and ultimately produce substantial cost savings. The key area for power saving are in adjusting lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning in areas of the building that are not occupied.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems

CCTV is a visual surveillance technology with the capability to monitor a variety of environments and activities. CCTV is now an integral component in the design of cost effective security solutions, which deter, detect, help supervise and verify activity associated with security or safety risks. New advancements in security cameras and Digital Video Recording have made CCTV cameras and video surveillance one of the most valuable security and loss-prevention solutions available. CCTV security systems are reliable, efficient and simple to use.

As the overall security industry continues to move towards Internet Protocol (IP) based video surveillance, deploying video surveillance solutions has become a key requirement. A typical indoor system involves items such as software, IP cameras, Category 5/6 wiring, servers, routers, switches, and storage devices. Generally speaking, all of these items have been designed to be installed and operated in a room temperature (controlled) environment with easy access to each system component.

Cameras come in different forms and shapes – vandal proof, indoor/outdoor, covert and discreet cameras. Highly reliable speed domes will take a pre-set position in less than a second while zooming and focusing automatically on the area of interest. Of all the security products camera technology is evolving quickly into the digital space.

A strong advantage of IP network-based video surveillance systems over analogue video systems is scalability. IP-based systems scale easily from one to thousands of cameras in increments of a single camera. There are none of the mandatory 16-channel jumps dictated by pre-configured analogue systems using Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). This makes IP-based solutions ideal for growing a system as budget allows. Installation can be done in stages and video encoders can be used to incorporate existing analogue cameras, creating a hybrid system that preserves the existing security system investment. It’s nearly always less expensive to set up a hybrid IP video surveillance system and gradually replace existing analogue equipment with the superior functionality of IP network cameras and other components.

Physical security

Applying a barrier between a would be thief and equipment or ‘target hardening’ as it is often known, means that the offender has to remain on site for a considerable amount of time, thereby apprehension is increased and reward is decreased. A lighting system can also act as a simple, but effective means of reducing the opportunity for people to hide in the grounds and supports the capture of good quality images on CCTV system.

Making the right choice when it comes to choosing your crowd control provider

When it comes to selecting the right crowd control provider it shouldn’t be a lucky dip. To ensure you make the right choice, it is vital that you conduct a thorough due diligence review of potential providers.

Choosing a provider based on the lowest price alone will more often than not result in an inferior level of service being provided than you require – often resulting in a negative impact on your business. Reputable security providers are committed to providing a quality service and play an active role through their professional membership of peak industry bodies, such as ASIAL. They possess the appropriate insurances, train their employees well, use only appropriately licensed security personnel and provide wages and conditions in accordance with a lawful industrial instrument. Those that don’t will compromise the security of your licensed premises.

To help you assess the credentials of a security provider, some of the key criteria to consider include:

•  Adequate / current insurance cover – view documents and ensure that they are current and provide coverage suitable to your requirements.

•  A good reputation – investigate provider’s reputation to ensure that they have maintained good relationships with customers, are trustworthy and dependable.

•  References – request and check references to obtain a valuable insight as to the reliability and performance of the security firm. ASIC and business search tools to check trading history can be very helpful.

•  Training – review the security firm’s training regime and request supporting documentation to support their assertions.

•  Equipment – ensure equipment to be provided by the security firm is fit for purpose and meets all work health and safety requirements.

•  Costs – understand financial arrangements with the security firm regarding the planned invoicing cycle, rise and fall cost management, cost drivers, rate reviews, additional charges and award/agreement impact.

•  Written Contract – defining the rights and responsibilities between client and security provider should be detailed and written, including dispute resolution processes, contract review, extensions and termination.

•  Management – experienced management personnel with specialist expertise in the security industry will ensure effective delivery and well-trained and supervised staff.

•  Crowd controllers /Security Officers– you should request evidence that only appropriately licensed and trained personnel work on site.

Licensing requirements vary from state to state


To enable a security provider to meet the established criteria and deliver the service, you need to clearly communicate the requirements through:

•  A concise statement describing the security activities to be performed including the days, hours of service delivery.

•  A detailed set of any special instructions, given to the security provider to develop into standard operating procedures to enable them to deliver the service.

•  Nominated management representative to liaise between the school and the security provider.

Due-diligence as indicated includes the checking of references, operational performance and achievements. Organisations should provide more than one reference and if not, schools should request a variety of referees and actively canvass the performance of the security provider.

If a submission or quote appears too good to be true, it needs to be thoroughly investigated to ensure that no short cuts are being taken. For example, will the quality, description and performance of the equipment match the specifications of the quoted work? Will only appropriately skilled and licensed personnel be used? Will the work be sub-contracted? Will personnel employed be paid in accordance with award rates? Does the quote include a comprehensive maintenance program for the security system installed?

The environment in which licensed premises operate is constantly evolving and changing. The challenge is keeping up with these changes and responding in a prompt and appropriate manner.

Security for pubs and clubs is not a quick fix solution. Like Band-Aids, quick fixes don’t last long and need to be reapplied often. A good security plan needs to be carefully thought through and executed. It should be integrated into the day-to-day routine of all staff so that it is not recognisable as a separate measure. Hand in hand with this is selecting the right security provider. Ultimately, making the right decision comes down to making an informed choice.