Make A Step Up With Security
The story of one well known football club providing security passes for construction workers only to find them being used on match days and even allowing access to changing rooms is, at best cheeky, at worst, a frightening security breach. As you well know, the safety of everyone, but particularly youth players, employees and support staff is vital. Getting it wrong is not an option.
Safeguarding for children is a big issue and responsibilities need to be taken seriously. But by following some simple processes you can manage safeguarding within your club or event without huge cost implications. But then, what value do we put on knowing we have done our best to protect and look after our youth players?
The most important factor for safeguarding children within our care is knowing who the adults in attendance are. This accountability is an essential first step. There will be different categories of attendees – coaches, physios, event staff, support staff such as caterers, parents, perhaps press, and other guests.
Attendees should know who to turn to if they have questions or need help and who has had extra levels of vetting such as Criminal Records Bureau checks. It is unlikely that all those members of staff or attendees require complete access across the event or club ground.
Access needs to be controlled so you can know that only the necessary adults have access to certain areas, and so that you know where the adults in attendance are at all times. Do you have a management system in place? If not, then you need one. It does not need to be incredibly complex but it does need to be there to protect not only your youth players and staff but also the integrity and reputation of your club or event.
If your ground has different areas it isn’t always necessary for everyone to have access to all areas. Restricting access and having different levels of freedom within the event are important tools for safeguarding. Traceability is key.
It’s easier than you might think to section off events and areas. You can set up different tiers of access, limit some locations, have extra checks at specified points, limit times or operate certain opening hours. Turnstiles, access gates with RFID enabled passes, all add to the protection and physical security at an event or within your ground.
For example, not all adult attendees will need access to behind the scenes areas, possibly changing areas. Adults who are supervising their child behind the scenes might only need that access during certain times and not access at any other point during the event. Having a software system to be able to manage this is key.
Rather than controlling this access being extra work it is important to see it as an essential safeguarding activity that will increase trust in your event and help it run more smoothly, as well as protect children.
Parents and guardians will want to know an event or training ground for children is well organised and secure, and that as many safeguarding protections are in place as possible. Should you ever need to produce information for the police in order to avoid an emergency or, sadly, deal with the aftermath of one, your club or event should be able to instantly supply data of all people accessing an area at a given time. It is something we all dread, both as professionals and as parents, but a ‘head in the sand’ mentality will help no-one.
Checking credentials and validation needs dedicated time both before the event, perhaps during the sign up process, and when checking in. You need procedures on how to deal with security breaches that everyone involved in the event is aware of. Security accreditation needs to be traceable and work seamlessly, with full training provided to staff on machines and the technology as well as backup systems and technical support.
With the right technology, suppliers and manufacturers providing support and advice you can have a safe child oriented event.
SecuraSeal has been working in accreditation and security, providing security laminate protection films and other services, for 35 years. We are proud to have been the number one supplier of laminate films and security papers for Olympic and Commonwealth Games including Rio 2016, London 2012 and Special Olympics 2013 and 2016. Our most recent major events were Ashgabat 2016, Baku 2016 and the English Cricket Champions Trophy.
At SecuraSeal we specialise in Security Event Accreditation and materials for event protection passes We are already working with other football clubs to provide this service, from consumables and passes to work alongside their current systems, to complete accreditation systems including software, hardware and consumables.
If you already have a system in place, we can help with the right security materials to ensure that tracking and traceability of the movement of individuals, particularly those working with youth players, within your club is accurate, effective and cost effective.
If you have any concerns about your current youth protection security arrangements, please do feel free to give me a call direct for a chat. I would be more than happy to help.
Will Duggins +44 (0) 7718 582 825