How security is managed at the Earls Court and Olympia exhibition centres in west London.
The Earls Court and Olympia exhibition centres in west London host more than 200 exhibitions and events a year, ranging from pop concerts and public events such as the Ideal Home show, to specialised trade fairs and conferences. Exhibitions pose unique security challenges, say security staff there: during an exhibition, a venue is both a construction site and a retail area, with many people building, exhibiting or visiting. Each venue has a small security team working a 24 hour shift system from a control room. These control rooms are equipped with CCTV, access control and fire detection systems. Both venues use a Maxpro CCTV system and Cardax access control system. These systems were chosen due to their flexibility and inter-operability. Besides, security and traffic staff deal with perimeter access to the venues.
During an exhibition private security companies are brought in by exhibition organisers to secure the specific areas in use. Dan Gorton, Senior Operations Manager at Olympia, says: ?We found that our customers prefer to use security companies with whom they have built up a relationship over time, and who understand their specific needs.? This poses a challenge to the Olympia staff; they have to ensure that the security effort is co-ordinated between the organiser?s contractor and the venue. Trevor McNevin, Security Manager at Olympia, says: ?A lot of my job is to ensure that security plans are co-ordinated between security companies on site. We can have several companies within the venue at any one time. The venue takes the lead in following up incidents and investigations and in liaising with the local police, with whom we have a very close relationship.? During open periods exhibition venues are targets for similar types of crime as shopping centres such as shoplifting and car crime. Many exhibitions also use plenty of audio visual and computer equipment which is attractive to thieves. McNevin says: ?Our most vulnerable period is during an exhibition break-down, when a lot of equipment is moving and there are many different people in the venue. Through the use of targeted security measures, such as key point cameras, pass out systems and secure storage facilities, as well as close control of access and egress points, we have succeeded in reducing the level of crime in the venues to a minimum.? In a venue such as an exhibition centre, where many different companies are working at once, the promotion of a strong security culture is essential. As McNevin says: ?Everyone in the venue knows the effect that crime can have on our business. Security awareness by everyone in the venue, coupled with a co-ordinated security plan and backed up by modern technology, has proved to be crucial in maintaining a secure environment for exhibitions in Earls Court and Olympia.?