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For your eyes only

Iain Entwistle, Product Marketing Manager at Meesons AI, says tailgating can most effectively be prevented by a combination of manned guarding and entrance control technology.

Tailgating is the practice by which someone gains entry to a building or restricted area by closely following an authorised person through the entrance. It’s one of the most common causes of unauthorised entry and can occur at any entrance or exit. All buildings are vulnerable to this kind of breach.

In most cases tailgating happens innocently, such as when someone follows a colleague through a security entrance without using their own pass, or when someone holds the door for another person (which people are inclined to do). There is a clear risk, however, that someone with malicious intent can gain access to a building or area with a view to stealing sensitive data, or simply taking valuables from cloakrooms.

Entrance control systems such as speed gates provide a useful first line of defence, particularly for buildings where there are multiple entrances. But they work best when used in conjunction with a security team. The latest devices work by only permitting one person to enter or leave the building at a time, either by using an intelligent physical barrier, or incorporating sensors that detect when an unauthorised person attempts to piggyback their way into the building. Glass ‘wings’ close on the suspect and an alarm is sounded, alerting security personnel who can come and deal with the problem.

Meesons security gates can be supplied with a pressure-sensitive cabinet top feature which sounds an alarm, or alerts security via the access control system, should anyone attempt to climb over the glass wings. Another optional feature is a fail-safe that can be activated during an emergency, avoiding the need for a separate emergency exit.

Speed gates are a flexible solution which can be freestanding or mounted to a desk. They can be remotely controlled from a control panel, allowing security guards or reception staff to control multiple lanes per panel.

International law firm Bird & Bird decided its London HQ required an entrance control system to support its existing security team. Numerous employees and visitors enter the building on a daily basis, creating a stream of people passing through the reception area. Meesons installed six lanes of EasyGate DG speed gates, consisting of five single-wing lanes and one dual-wing lane for wide access. Visitor card collectors were integrated into six of the cabinets, each with a capacity of 150 cards.

The client wanted the speed gates to be controllable from a central location, so controls were provided at each of three lecterns located at the front of the building. Remote control fobs were also provided for the security team, allowing them to control the barriers from anywhere within the reception.


When it comes to protecting the public in a retail environment, you can’t beat the personal touch.

The Westgrove Group provides cleaning and security staff for UK shopping centres. Its security personnel are trained to deal with everything from a terrorist or other emergency situation to assaults and power outages. Training includes computer simulations of emergency incidents, advice on spotting suspicious behaviour, and how to respond to incidents quickly and calmly in the critical few minutes before the emergency services arrive.

A shift might involve catching a shoplifter, preventing a theft, reuniting a lost child with parents, or saving a life. Claire McKinley-Smith, Managing Director of The Westgrove Group, thinks her people “do some incredible things” to protect the public.

Two Westgrove security guards at Kennet Shopping Centre in Newbury, Berkshire, helped save a man’s life after he was stabbed. Richard Farley and Paulo Ribeiro were doing their rounds when they saw a man putting a cover for a knife in a bin. They found another man with a serious knife wound in a nearby public toilet, called for help, gave emergency first aid and stayed with the victim until the ambulance arrived.

They were awarded Outstanding Act of the Year at The Westgrove Group annual awards, and also received an ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Award. Their Westgrove colleagues Alan Parkes and Lianne Doran picked up the same award after stepping in to help a lady with a young baby who had suffered a cardiac arrest in a mall.

Other colleagues came to the rescue after a motorcyclist crashed and fell off his bike. Security teams have stopped pickpockets, while others put their own safety at risk to step in and drag people to safety after a man was attacked. Others again were praised for their swift action in dealing with a violent man in a store and a woman wielding a large kitchen knife in a public place.

Steven Brooks, a night shift officer at Templars Square, Oxford, was thanked for working closely with the police. He spotted 16 drug deals, two people wanted by the police, two bike thefts, children vandalising property, and a man driving after his licence had been revoked. He also came to the aid of a woman in distress after a physical assault, and reported two suspicious males who had stolen money from an elderly man’s bank card.

David Leyland of Hardshaw Shopping Centre in St Helens was patrolling when he was made aware of a small boy being assaulted outside one of the units. Leyland went to the scene and found the little boy lying on the floor, having been seriously attacked. He put his first aid training into action and checked the child for signs of concussion or other injuries, remaining with him until help arrived.

About Sarah OBeirne


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