Hotel accolades

by Mark Rowe

The Institute of Hotel Security Management (IHSM) gave its first security officer of the year awards on Friday, December 8. Professional Security took the winners’ pictures and heard their stories; read more in the January 2015 print issue.

Pictured left to right are Karl Spiers, the chairman of the IHSM, and the overall winner of the officer awards, Darren Nourse, assistant security manager at the Metropolitan by Como, the hotel on Old Park Lane in Mayfair. He was nominated by security manager Craden Moulds.

Also presented with awards were two finalists: Mariusz Koziol, team leader at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill in Portman Square in W1; and Michael Ehrhardt, security team leader at the Hilton London Metropole on Edgware Road in W2. Briefly, Darren Nourse was nominated for prompt work to minimise damage to his hotel from a water sprinkler, and then investigation; Mariusz Koziol for thwarting an attempted theft of a non-resident guest’s watch in the forecourt outside the Hyatt, by a man who later proved to be a member of a gang, caught by police; and Michael Ehrhardt for spotting someone suspicious while on duty in the Metropole’s lobby, who tried to make off with an iPad – and who when detained turned out to have an electronic tag on his ankle.

On that point, Michael Ehrhardt’s ability to spot someone suspicious straight away may be of interest to security managers generally, including CCTV control room managers and operators. While the Metropole, like many big London hotels, is busy at all hours, Michael Ehrhardt told Professional Security that the suspect ‘did seem to fit any of the categories’ of usual guests or visitors. How does anyone in hotel security, or security generally, pick up that knack of spotting – and acting – on something not being right? It may boil down to accumulated experience: Michael Ehrhardt has worked at the Metropole since 2005: “I know the place: I know what is normal and not normal.” Also of interest is that all three men, having several years of hotel security experience, had different entries to the sector, and none of them came into security via the stereotypical ways of police or armed forces. Darren Nourse did do security function work before going into hotels; Mairusz Koziol was a hotel car park attendant before he became a DSO (duty security officer) and Michael Ehrhardt recalled to Professional Security that he actually applied for a job as a concierge: “And security was a back-up; and just by chance the concierge manager who was looking like he was going to give me a job delayed the interview process.” The security manager instead offered a job, and Michael Ehrhardt said yes, why not? “And here I am today.”

About the Institute of Hotel Security Management

Visit Institute chairman Karl Spiers is the director of security, and a member of Hyatt’s council of experts, at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill. He’s been in hotel security since 1990 – having served in the Royal Navy for nine years, including the Falklands and in the Gulf, he began at the Mayfair Intercontinental. Deputy chairman is Darren Carter, the group head of security at the Edwardian Group of hotels in London; and membership secretary is Barry Lugg, director of security at the Savoy, the institute’s host for their AGM, where the awards were presented.

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