Whether your working executive protection, corporate security, celebrity protection, or event security you will deal with someone trying to gain unauthorized access to an event. That event could be a concert, a sporting event, an executive symposium, film set, or a simple private event. Sometimes a person just wants to be close to their favorite celebrity for no other reasons other than bragging points. Some may have much more nefarious or sinister plans. If the person with sinister plans gets next to your client then there is a likelihood of the ultimate tragedy; serious bodily injury or death. If a person is up to more innocent shenanigans then you're dealing with embarrassment for your client, the event venue, and the brand or reputation. This article is on talking points regarding this topic.
Credentialing: In the book "An Introduction to Celebrity Protection and Touring" the author discusses types of credentials. It is true many people in our profession don't pay attention to passes and credentials like they should. Many times there are just too many or their is a lack of communication between production staff and security staff. This picture is of a pass you can purchase on Amazon. Pretty bland and boring but you'll be surprised with a little confidence how people can wear this pass and walk around like they own the place and bypass numerous security protocols. The credentials are utilized to limit and control access to certain areas and for the protection of the venue and the client. Many tragedies and embarrassing situations could have been avoided by proper credentialing procedures.
Media: The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights says that we can't prohibit the free exercise of the press. This has given many people the idea that if they pretend to be the media with media access they can bypass security. Unfortunately, it has worked. The US Press Association as pictured in the photo is not a legit organization to grant media access yet people buy into it. The Paparazzi are not the press. They have no press credentials and credentials are provided by legitimate media outlets. Look at the media passes every time as you don't want to be duped by this ploy.
Fabrication: With technology, vanity posts on social media, and the right equipment very real looking passes can be fabricated. Zac Alsop of YouTube fame has posted many enlightening videos on the art of fabricating passes and sneaking back stage and into many high profile events. To the emboldened it's fun and games, challenging, and exciting. To the venue it's humiliating and embarrassing.
Honey Trap: The Honey Trap is a technique commonly used in espionage but I also use the term in unauthorized access. This is more common with the flirtatious females to a male staff than it is the other way around. The attractive female that flirts with you to gain access into an event. Perhaps she says she should be on the guest list, maybe she promises you favors, whatever the game is we must ALWAYS take the professional approach and do our job. If they're not on the list they're simply not on the list. There is always someone to verify such claims. If they are not allowed access they simply are not allowed access.
The Vendor: These are the ones who take the time to dress up for the unauthorized access challenge. "Something's wrong with your plumbing." "I'm here to wash the windows." "I need to fix the sound equipment." You get the picture. Remember, what I said there is always someone to verify the information.
Every now and then there are legitimate people who really don't make the list or forgot their badge. People are human. Treat everyone with respect and go through the proper procedures in a professional manner. If you are unsure call someone to verify. Most people will understand and those who seem frustrated are usually either frustrated with themselves or whoever was supposed to add them to the list.
Lastly, don't forget Christina Grimmie. The up and coming star. Her shooter got way too close and she is no longer with us. What procedures were negated? I don't really know but I do believe this could have been avoided with proper security procedures in place.
As usual Stay Safe and Stay Vigilant.