Anthony - "If I sense things are escalating, I’ll ask my colleague to come back me up."
“How do I deal with a potential threat? Personally, I try to talk to the person as much as possible. I talk them down and ease them out of a situation. If I sense things are escalating, I’ll ask my colleague to come back me up. We’re all very tight here, so I know help is never far away.
Originally, I took this job on as a side gig, but I now can proudly call it my profession.
I’ve been doing security for 26 years, not just in London, but Essex, Kent – everywhere. I fell into it through my brother in-law. He asked if I wanted to earn a little bit of extra money back in the day. I said no at first, told him: ‘nah, I’m too small to be doing security.’ But I later learned that that’s not what counts, it’s the knowledge of using common sense. I’ve found over the years, the most effective way for me to do this job is to always look at people from a distance. I can tell by the way they’re approaching the venue, by the way they’re acting within themselves, if they’ve just left work, if they’ve been to another bar and so forth. All these things equip me with the tools to do my job well.
My first gig was a pub in Essex and I’d been thrown straight in the deep-end – but there you go. I wasn’t told what to do, I had to just buckle down and get on with it.
I had a knife pulled out on me once. It happened during a fight that broke out inside a venue. What went through my mind at that moment? To be honest, I can’t really say on camera. At the end of the day I went to court and the attacker also got summoned. Luckily, I was the one who got off, so justice was served I suppose. I try to not let these things affect me, if you do you’re in a world trouble. A job like this comes with all sorts of risks and you can’t pretend they’re not there. It’s all part and parcel of keeping order.
In terms of other work, I’ve done corporate security, red carpet; in fact, the only type I haven’t done is hotel security. The gig I’m most comfortable with is what I’m doing now, door work. It’s the interaction with people I really like, the adrenalin – not from when something goes wrong. It’s more about enjoying the company of others, you know? They’re enjoying their time and I enjoy it with them, which always feels good.
I did think about doing CCTV, but I’m at that age now – I’m fifty-four. I was going to hang up my badge when I turned forty, but decided to do a little work over the Christmas period and stuck it out ever since (fourteen years later to be precise!). I guess I felt too comfortable to quit. That’s the thing about this work, you get used to it very quickly and start to feel very much at home with it.
If you’re thinking about doing a job like this, I’d say go do whatever course is offered to you. If the course you stumble across is free, then do it by all means! Similarly, it’s worth every penny if you pay. The SIA course I did back when I started was from a very long time ago, so I’m sure a lot has changed since then. But one thing I do know: a job like this is flexible and can provide a great back-up, should you need it. Originally, I took this job on as a side gig, but now I can proudly call it my profession.”