Thrown to the wolves


Night time events need expert handling by a sufficient force of mature, trained professionals.

Throughout my career (13 years at Victoria Police and 6 years specialising in teen events) I’ve seen my share of dreadful things.

These days, I also receive many calls from staff from other security firms. They call because they’re concerned about the types of teen parties to which their employer is sending them.

I think it’s vital security firms ensure the events they send their staff to are safe. I’m not just talking alcohol; there are many more issues to worry about, like:

• Pools.
• Balconies.
• Perimeter fencing.
• Exit and entry points.
• Ratio of guests to crowd control staff

Some security firms send just one crowd controller to a party with 100 guests! How can one person possibly handle a brawl? Or simultaneously patrol dark, unsafe back areas while gatecrashers invade the front and sides?

I recently saw an eastern-suburb party turn pear-shaped. The teen organiser had been strongly advised to have four crowd controllers. But as he hadn’t budgeted for the event, he went for the cheapest quote. The result?, Just two crowd controllers for 300 kids! Inevitably, the event was shut down. It was clear the security firm hadn’t done any risk assessment of this party, thus placing guests, hosts, property and even their own staff in danger. Unfortunately, this case isn’t rare. I liaise with many parents and teens seeking crowd control for their parties.

Often they:

• Haven’t budgeted for the event
• Don’t accept the quote and information given
• Are too weak to stand up to their kids or peers
• Don’t insist an alcohol plan is put in place

They then choose the security firm with the lowest quote who doesn’t care if alcohol is managed. This firm will ask a few questions (maybe) and send one or two (at most) teenaged crowd controllers, to deal with other teens. This is a very bad start.

In addition to the crowd controllers being the same age as the host and/or guests, they often lack the experience and maturity to deal with the myriad of dicey situations uncontrolled environments invariably throw up. It completely defeats the purpose of having security.

Event hosts expect their crowd controllers to:

1. Enter the property if guests get too drunk
2. Break up fights that arise from the lack of planning or (backbone) from the parents

Meanwhile, the ‘responsible adults’ at these events often have a party of their own elsewhere on the property. I believe security firms must ensure the staff they assign to teen parties operate in a safe environment. It’s not only their duty to provide a safe workplace under occupational health and safety laws. It’s also the right and decent thing to do by their staff, their clients and our community.


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