WEDNESDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2012 AT THE MAJESTIC HOTEL HARROGATE
John welcomed all to the autumn conference, he introduced the officers of the association and particularly welcomed those members attending for the first time, together with all our sponsors and exhibitors. John asked that members visit the exhibition during the day, they are important to the organisation. The NEC had been looking closely at the format of the Association, with a view to the future, a more partnership based approached with Showsec and SGSA has already been developed. We had not been as successful as we would have wished in building income streams from the football authorities, although the Premier League had made a one off payment to the FSOA. This lack of funds had necessitated a restructuring of the organisation due purely to the financial constraints; the post of General Secretary has been made redundant. John thanked Chris Patzelt for all his work over his period of office. We are looking to employ an office manager that would be available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Looking to the future the website still needs work to improve again cost was a factor but would be a top priority when finance becomes available, likewise to improve revenue streams, further partnerships and general communication with the membership.
Mark Harding outlined Showsec’s commitment to the FSOA as main partner and spoke about the challenges of delivery in austere times, controlling costs but still delivering quality. Showsec had invested heavily in management development and an e learning platform which outlines the National Occupational Standards for the Security Industry.
Ruth Shaw outlined a year in the life of the SGSA, 135 games visited, 238 SAG meetings attended visiting new stadia and being involved in developments of existing ones. 71 of the 92 stadia are now all seater and it was unlikely that a change of policy would be forthcoming in the future. Many clubs are using or in the process of using risk based safety certification and it was believed that the document would be discloseable under the Freedom of Information Act. Ruth went on to outline the SGSA’s involvement in the Olympics, with only three of the venues having Safety Certificates, this was particularly challenging. The profile of those attending was significantly different to a football crowd. Other sports had been slow to avail themselves of the expertise within the SGSA ranks
Chris Pritchett and colleague gave an update following the Leeds United v West Yorkshire Police case which revolved around what the definition of the stadium footprint was. In this case WYP had been charging LUFC for policing on land around the stadium although not under the control of LUFC. The Judge ruled this unlawful and found in favour of LUFC. Police have a duty to keep the peace and as this is outside the stadium, it is not and cannot be part of the Safety Certificate. WYP had been refused leave to appeal but it is expected written permission will be submitted in the near future, although it is thought not likely to succeed.
Safety Officers Experience Tottenham Hotspur FC Dean Smith
Dean outlined the circumstances from a Safety Officers prospective of what happened following the collapse of Fabrice Muamba in the Premier league fixture THFC v Bolton Wanderers. The subsequent decision to abandon the game and the way the fans reacted to the incident which was a credit to both sets of supporters. The club staff and contingency plans worked well, with only a minor tweak in relation to transport (notification of earlier leave times to Transport for London) and fans leaving.
Safety Officers Experience Kidderminster Harriers FC Jim Chalmers
Jim spoke about an incident during a game when it became necessary for a medivac helicopter to land on the pitch. He outlined the importance of Dynamic Ongoing Risk Assessment (DORA). He produced a PowerPoint presentation of the incident.
LOCOG Experience Dave Storr
Dave outlined his journey from initial interview to the end of the games and gave a sometimes humorous view of that journey accompanied by a PowerPoint Presentation.
Sky TV a Broadcasters View
Ray Ryan and Martyn Knight gave a very good double act in relation to the interaction between broadcasters and the safety officer, the point that came over time and again was the importance of communication between the parties to ensure a smooth operation for both. Again a PowerPoint presentation was given and well received.
A question for Ray and Martyn centred on a reverse broadcast, i.e. two broadcasters to different parts of the world. This would entail double the amount of broadcast trucks and would make space very difficult. Sky would not be involved in this but saw the potential to grow especially to South American countries.
Rationalisation of Football Intelligence Officers was proposed in the Met Police area from 14 at present down to 6. It was thought loosing local liaison would be counterproductive. West Mids and Greater Manchester have a similar system of centralisation but no reduction in numbers. This would appear to be an ongoing situation as Police budgets are reduced.
Then and Now Steve Frosdick
Steve gave an excellent presentation as to how and why the FSOA was inaugurated and how the organisation had grown over the past twenty years and challenges for the future. Steve outlined his talk with a PowerPoint presentation.
Members, guests, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors were thanked for making the day the best conference to date organised by the FSOA, in particular John and Sharon for the day and evening dinner.