Being a woman in a male dominated industry (only approximately 10% of the industry is female) I was quite nervous at attending the course. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I be the only female in a room full of stereotypical “bouncers”? Would I be judged for being there? So, I tried to put these thoughts and a million more to the back of my mind and remind myself that I was doing this to make me better in my job role not to get someone’s approval. How wrong could I have been with my worries. There were 3 females including myself and the rest of the group were made up of a friendly bunch of males. No scary looking bouncers, we shared stories on why we were there doing the course, our past experiences and worries we had about entering the industry. Of course, us girls befriended each other almost straight away and ended up with silly nicknames off the others. There are a lot of misconceptions on the security industry : that it is an easy role for uneducated people, there is lots of violence from our end when dealing with unruly customers, we take no pride in our work, it is a underpaid role, and there is nowhere to develop to career to when you enter the industry as a guard. The course set straight the true security industry to us and showed that with the right role and the right company we can build up a career that is safe and well paid. There is no violence from security operatives, we were trained on how to deescalate situations not to escalate them to violence.
The day starts with registration, which gets the formalities completed and checks everyone there should be there.
The previous week we had been set homework which was for the first module of the course, Common security industry knowledge. This covered law awareness, health and safety, fire safety, emergency procedures, communication and customer care skills. Because this module was a self-taught module, we had a revision session on it to check our understanding and so we could ask any questions.
We then moved onto the next module where it started getting more detailed and role specific. The door supervisor specialist module. This was the most interesting module for me as it was informative on several subjects that were new to me.
It explained the difference between civil and criminal law, so what can be prosecuted in a criminal court of law, what is classed as disputes. What the police can and can’t help you with.
How to search someone… complete with demonstrations on best practices. What we are searching for and how to handle a situation if anything illegal is found (this includes drugs, weapons, unattended bags/packages to name a few).
The licensing laws. How old someone has to be to consume alcohol, challenge 25 to check their age. What forms of ID are acceptable and what to look for on those IDs.
The importance of accurately recording incidents as any reports can be used in evidence in court so they need to contain the right level of detail. We were told to always carry a pocket/note book and pen so we can jot down as much information as possible as soon as possible and then use that to help complete incident reports or completing police statements.
How to have good crowd control and queue management, this is important to manage customers expectations and to defuse situations before they escalate. Especially at peak times or when special events are being held. It is also important from a health and safety point of view. There are limits on how many people can be in a premises due to fire safety and if a venue is found to be over capacity in can have severe legal consequences.
How the needs of vulnerable individuals could be met, this can include drunk customers, lone men or women, underage individuals trying to gain access to premises or victims of violence (including domestic violence) just to name a few.
These areas were taught using a variety of methods. Our trainer used a mix of power point presentations, demonstrations, and we had a text book with all the relevant module content. To ensure we fully understood the material we were given test sheets, which covered the area we had just learnt. Any areas someone struggled with we could then have a recap on.
I ended the first day on a much more positive note then I started on. All my worries about being a female in the industry were lifted and all the general stereotypes you hear of the security industry were disproven. Just my exam nerves to combat now.