Safety Underpin

It’s not often that new technologies promote old fashioned values, but I think the world of hi-tech security is doing just that.

We’re used to hearing about security being presented in a ‘what’ll they think of next?’ big brother sense — cameras watching our every move, satellites tracking our mobile phone movements etc — and civil libertarians generally wheel out a spokesperson to talk about the ‘erosion of privacy’ and whatnot. Admittedly, the idea of a police state doesn’t fill me with much pleasure — I’d rather not be ear-tagged and thrown back into the wild — but there’s clearly a point where too much anonymity is a bad thing. With anonymity comes the misjudged sense of inviolability. Put another way, people don’t rob their own neighbourhood’s 7 Eleven.

Conversely, when people are recognised — a little like in the dim distant past where walking into a pub routinely involved running into people you knew — they are naturally more responsible. ‘Accountability’ is the buzz word du jour, and boozed-up testosterone-fuelled blokes are much less likely to start getting punchy when someone has a copy of their ID at the door — like Collingwood’s half back line, they’re forced to be more accountable.

Walter Wagner, Crown’s head of F&B, touched on this in my interview with him last issue. “Security is paramount,” he said without even merest hint of hyperbole. Not surprising, given it was the lack of security that nearly sank his nightclub operations. In came the new regime, with ID scanning and more active security staff as its pillars. Walter went on to talk about how early intervention in potential dustups acted as a circuit breaker to stop actual dustups. And we’re not talking about frog marching would-be ‘perps’ at the first sign of raised voices, we’re talking about trained friendly staff being able to read the signs and engaging with customers.

It all seems so frightfully logical, doesn’t it? But combining modern ID logging and biometric systems (like you see from those West Australian innovators, NightKey) and good old-fashioned people skills, we’ll have fewer front page disasters. – CH

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