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NSW Draft Code of Practice for Dance Parties

2. Security

Dance Party Security

Security to control crowds is required at all large public gatherings. Experience shows that Dance party crowds are not usually aggressive. Also, hysteria and crushing do not usually occur. The most common problem is dehydration. Distressed patrons must be escorted to the first aid station for medical attention as soon as possible.

Security staff should be hired at the ratio of one per 150 patrons for these events. An attempt should be made to hire male and female security staff if possible.

If holding an under 18s Dance party, check whether the security staff being hired have experience in supervising a younger crowd.

Security for Dance parties is primarily the control of crowds to:

  • remove or refuse entry, to any person intoxicated by alcohol or other drug use, showing aggressive or anti-social behaviour, or persons trying to bring drugs into, or sell or distribute drugs at, the Dance party;
  • avoid personal injury due to crushing, overcrowding and unruly or violent behaviour;
  • enable injured or distressed patrons to be identified and moved to safety or a first aid post;
  • preventing overloading of structures whether or not for spectator use, including seating stands, advertising hoarding, stages, lighting and sound mixing towers;
  • keep all exits, gangways to exits, and vehicle entrances, clear at all times;
  • assist in evacuating the venue in emergencies.

Security Staff

Security staff are licensed to protect persons or property, including the patrolling protecting and guarding of property. For Dance parties, this primarily requires directing and/or controlling people.

There are two basic types of crowd control:

Passive
Where staff do not normally come into direct contact with patrons, such as ticket collectors, ushers, parking attendants.

Active
Where staff are in direct physical contact to control crowds and unruly behaviour, such as bouncers, door attendants, security guards, etc.

Active security staff for crowd control must:

  • be properly licensed under the Security (Protection) Industry Act;
  • be fit and physically active;
  • be over 18 years of age;
  • have good communication skills (the cornerstone of good crowd management)
  • have basic training in fire fighting;
  • have basic training in evacuation procedures;
  • have a basic knowledge in first aid and have the ability to recognise distress;
  • have some knowledge of self-defence and how to control violent or unruly behaviour and intoxicated persons;
  • know their limitations on removing patrons and refusing entry to patrons;
  • know lawful search techniques.

Equipment Required

Security staff members must:

  • be able to be easily identified. Unique identification must be formally issued at each event so that security staff can be easily identified from the patrons;
  • be individually identified by a number on their uniform;
  • have a torch if the event is held at night;
  • have communication equipment that is effective under noisy concert conditions;
  • have noise protection.

Records and Plans

The promoter should maintain a register of the names and identifying number of all security staff. This list will enable the promoter and the Police to identify unauthorised or unlicensed security persons, and to identify security staff involved in a complaint. One person should be chosen as the Security Controller to be in charge of all the security staff.

Each security staff member should be given a written summary of all they are expected to know and do, including an evacuation plan. This includes the duties of the particular post to which he or she is allocated. Security staff should operate to a set pre-arranged plan known to all staff. It should be made clear to them that they are deployed to assist in the safe operation of the venue, not to view the event.

Promoters must include, as part of the security plan, the requirements that security staff must secure a clear passage for ambulance vehicles to gain access into the venue, including access by ambulance officers to the first aid post. The Security Controller is to also make sure that any ambulance called is met on arrival and clear instructions are given about access and casualties. In the case of a major incident with multiple casualties, security staff must immediately cordon off the affected area to allow first aid and ambulance personnel free access to treat and remove casualties.

To help protect the promoters of Dance parties, a record of incidents involving disorder, violence, drug dealing, other crime, ill health and all other relevant incidents must be kept. Immediately report any incidents which require Police attention to the local Police station.

The promoter must provide the Police Service with advance warning of the Dance party, so that Police Service back up can be included as part of the security arrangements.

What Security Staff should do

Below is a list which gives examples of typical tasks that security staff are expected to carry out, and for which they should be prepared. Security staff should:

  • turn away from the party any people who seek entrance who are already intoxicated from alcohol or other drugs, who attempt to bring drugs into the Dance party, or who are exhibiting aggressive or anti-social behaviour; and remove those who have already gained entry;
  • patrol toilet areas (male and female) preferably every thirty minutes;
  • assist in identifying patrons who are banned from the venue, such as people who are intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs, who attempt to sell or distribute drugs, who are being aggressive/anti social, who are underage at an adult Dance party, who do not possess tickets, or who are in possession of forged tickets;
  • monitor the crowd for signs of distress or overcrowding, and take action as set out in the standing instructions;
  • persons known to the promoters and security staff to be drug dealers should be refused entry or removed from the Dance party, and the Police notified immediately;
  • prevent overcrowding by making sure the number of patrons does not exceed the venue's legal crowd limits in the various parts of the venue;
  • prevent patrons, as far as possible, from climbing fences and other structures such as light towers, advertising hoardings, speaker columns and mixing towers. If the size of the problem means the security staff cannot prevent it from happening, they should immediately report the matter to the Security Controller;
  • make sure all parking area entrances and emergency exits are kept clear and that vehicles are correctly parked;
  • make sure that gangways and exits are kept clear;
  • control all exits including openings in a boundary fence;
  • assist in the diversion of patrons to other parts of the venue, including the closing of turnstiles, when the capacity for any area is about to be reached;
  • identify and investigate any incident (eg., violence) amongst the patrons, and report the findings to the Security Controller;
  • know the location of, and be able to operate, the fire-fighting equipment at the venue;
  • know the location of first aid posts;
  • direct distressed or unwell patrons to first aid posts;
  • fully understand any methods or signals used to alert staff that an emergency has occurred;
  • be capable of recognising potential fire hazards and suspect packages, reporting such findings immediately to the Security Controller;
  • immediately follow any instruction given in an emergency by a Police Officer or the Security Controller, or in the case of fire, instructions from the Station Commander or Incident Commander of the Fire Brigades;
  • remain at their allocated posts as instructed unless authorised or ordered to do otherwise by the Security Controller;
  • report to the Security Controller any damage or defect which is likely to be a threat to patron safety;
  • assist as required in the evacuation of the venue, in accordance with the evacuation plan;
  • assist in the prevention of breaches of venue regulations;
  • check identity documents to keep out minors from adult dance parties and to help stop underage drinking. Identity documents include driver's licences, passports and, for licensed premises, proof of age cards issued by the Roads and Traffic Authority.

Security Options

Other security measures that should be considered, according to circumstances, location and environment, include:

  • door searches;
  • use of metal detectors at point of entry to detect weapons and nitrous oxide bulbs;
  • patrolling of car parks, thoroughfares and the immediate area of the venue;
  • clearly set finishing times and controlled 'pass out' conditions. If 'passouts' are issued, note that some patrons use passouts to leave the Dance party to obtain drugs and then try to return to the party. Passouts are not recommended for under 18s dance parties;
  • total banning of glass drinking vessels, bottles etc (glass free environment);
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