Security Update August 2016
This update is about why training really matters and features a news story from the SIA about Gary, who is partially sighted...
We would like to draw your attention to an article published by the SIA recently highlighting the importance of the training that Security operatives receive:
Training does matter. It is important for security operatives to know how to engage with all members of the public especially those who are more vulnerable than others, including those with disabilities. We set out the higher level learning requirements for security staff. This learning includes:
Identifying key legislation relating to promoting equality and diversity
Identifying different types of customers and how their needs can vary
Ensuring that all customers are dealt with fairly and equally
Identifying additional considerations to take when searching individuals
In addition to this, security suppliers and those responsible for managing venues and supervising security staff should provide briefings on admissions policy and how to engage with vulnerable people.
The following incident demonstrates that not everyone makes the best use of the training they have received.
Gary is partially sighted with hearing loss (a condition called Ushers Syndrome) and he relies on his guide dog to help get around. In his own words, Gary describes the regular discrimination he faces when travelling.
Ushers is a rare genetic degenerative condition that affects both my eyesight and hearing, as well as balance. At the moment I am fortunate that I have some sight and hearing and with my guide dog I’m able to get around independently. Well that’s the general idea anyway.
‘No dogs’, ‘Sorry dogs aren’t allowed’', ‘Get the dog out of here’, ‘NO PETS’, these and many more similar retorts are unfortunately what a guide dog owner living and working in the UK has to face on a regular basis.
I should have a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘He’s a guide dog, I’m partially sighted and he’s allowed in wherever I go’.
It’s a sad situation that in 2016 with the Equality Act in place, people like myself are still facing discrimination when trying to access bars, shops, restaurants, supermarkets and nightclubs.
What happened to me at a particular bar was an extreme response, and being pushed in the chest and initially refused entry to the premises is of course totally unacceptable. However, it is easy to blame one individual and not look at the bigger picture.
I was just meeting up with friends who I haven’t seen in a few years, and we’d arranged to get together at a bar I was not familiar with. I’m always more unsure about travelling to places I’m not used to, but I am always hopeful that I will receive the assistance and help I sometimes require. On this occasion the doorman was extremely aggressive and this type of discrimination is extremely upsetting.
It might have only lasted a few minutes, but imagine yourself trying to get into a bar and being refused entry, just because you have a disability. This happens a lot more than it should, and each time it affects my confidence and ability to be independent.
It was clear that the doorman had no idea what a guide dog was, as his face showed no recognition when I repeated my mantra ‘he’s a guide dog’. So why is a doorman who’s the first point of contact for any bar or restaurant, not fully aware what a Guide Dog is needed and used for? The training that is required to be a qualified door supervisor does include disability awareness, but clearly there is much more that needs to be done before everyone fully understands the needs of disabled people like myself.
I’m sure you’re shocked to hear I received this type of behaviour, and the overwhelming response has been positive and supportive from other people.
I work with a charity called Enhance the UK, who provide disability awareness training to organisations across the country, so I know that this training is out there and not difficult to discover.
This is why I’m trying to get my story out there, in the hope it can resonate with other people and we can help ensure that this situation and open discrimination is eradicated from happening to others.
It’s time for organisations that allow this type of behaviour to be highlighted and given the opportunity to make positive changes that will improve the lives of many disabled people across the UK.
I wait with bated breath for a time when me and my assistance dog will be welcomed in everywhere we go.