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Safety scenarios at London West End nightclub

A West End venue, The Cuckoo Club, was the venue on Sunday afternoon for an exercise by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) with the Metropolitan Police, Profile Protection Security Services Ltd, who provided door staff; West End Security Group, Safer Business Group, the Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps, Inspirations Theatre Company, and the club off Regent Street.

Besides the tasks for door and other staff to carry out to protect people, among the learning points was how important a DJ at a venue can be, to make clear and concise announcements without panicking clubbers, and to bring up the lights and stop the music, so that Security are better able to get on with their jobs. Also raised in de-briefs were the Methane model under JESIP for passing on information to the emergency services control room; and the HOT protocol for checking if a package or left object is hidden, obvious and typical, to judge simply and quickly if it’s suspicious.

More in the November print edition of Professional Security magazine.

The training event over three hours took the participants – actors, volunteers and security and non-security staff – through real-time simulations, of four possible emergency scenarios. They were: a mass stabbing (gang-related knife attack); an invacuation (in response to a marauding terrorist attack on streets outside, such as at Borough Market in summer 2017); an acid (‘corrosive substance’) attack (using the three Rs remove, remove remove); and a suspect package, which required the calling of emergency services and removing club-goers from the threat. It was all in line with the UK official Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness and the brand-new ACT Security e-learning.

Paul Fullwood, the SIA’s Director of Inspections and Enforcement, is a former senior policeman who has joined the regulator. In opening remarks to the event, he stressed how security staff were most likely to be the first responders in such cases. And speaking to Professional Security, he said that the point of the event was public safety.

He said beforehand: “The private security industry has an important role in protecting the public. Security operatives can often be the first on the scene in an incident. This exercise at The Cuckoo Club will provide a learning environment for door supervisors and nightclub staff to respond to a set of simulated exercises with the support of the emergency services.” The common goal of all of the partners is ensuring that going to a London nightclub is as safe as possible for customers and those working at the venue.”

The Cuckoo Club exercise follows a similar event in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on September 21. A first event ran at nearby Buxton in October 2019; the COVID-19 outbreak meant that the SIA’s plan for exercises was, like so much else, disrupted until now. The Cuckoo Club event closed by hearing from Kerry Bullimore, manager of the Aruba venue in Chesterfield, on what she learned from the earlier exercise; and door security company veteran Ray Gibbs of Pavilion Security, who earlier had been among the audience of club-goers.

About ACT

The new Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Security e-learning is specialised training for front line security operatives. This free course was designed by UK Government counter-terrorism staff from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (Nactso), the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the SIA. The custom-built training provides up-to date counter-terrorism knowledge. Visit


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