Brian Sims

Private security staff and Emergency Services take part in safety exercise

ON SUNDAY 10 October, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) ran a safety resilience exercise at The Cuckoo Club, a night-time economy venue in London’s West End. The exercise was conducted in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service, Profile Protection Security Services Ltd, the West End Security Group, the Safer Business Group, the Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps, The Inspirations Theatre Company and The Cuckoo Club itself.

The training event comprised a series of real-time simulations involving actors and volunteers and revolved around possible emergency scenarios, among them a mass stabbing (ie a gang-related knife attack), an invacuation episode (to escape from an external marauding terrorist attack), a corrosives-based attack (using the three Rs of Remove, Remove, Remove) and also an incident featuring a suspect package.

This event was purpose-designed to strengthen the resilience of the venue. Cuckoo Club staff and those from Profile Protection Security Services Ltd (the security provider) also benefited from completing Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) awareness instruction and the all-new ACT Security e-Learning.

Paul Fullwood, the SIA’s director of inspections and enforcement, explained: “The private security industry has an important role to play in protecting the public. Security operatives can often be the first individuals on the scene in an incident. This exercise at The Cuckoo Club provides a learning environment for door supervisors and nightclub staff to respond to a set of simulated exercises with the support of the Emergency Services.”

Fullwood went on to comment: “The common goal of all of the partners involved is to ensure that going to a London nightclub is as safe as possible for customers as well as those working at the venue.”

Enhancing public safety

A key objective of the exercise is to enhance public safety in the night-time economy by working with venue and security staff alike. It was also about showcasing Best Practice. In short, putting the (You Can) ACT Security e-Learning package into practice, demonstrating partnership working within the community and running a series of exercises in a real-time environment.

The emergency planning exercise at The Cuckoo Club represents the continuation of a programme of exercises and follows on from the last event in Chesterfield on 21 September. A pilot event took place at Buxton in Derbyshire in October 2019, but the programme of exercises was then disrupted due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Security e-Learning is specialised training for front line security operatives. This free course was designed by Government counter-terrorism experts from the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and, indeed, the SIA.

In essence, the custom-built training provides up-to date counter-terrorism knowledge in order to assist security professionals in preparing for – and subsequently responding to – terrorist incidents while on duty.

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