Few sports facilities are in constant use. Most will have periods of time when there is no-one around. In most locations, this unfortunately means security is a key issue to be addressed as is the availability of key-holders to open up the facility when needed.
During any construction phase, security should be the responsibility of the contractors on site. It is their job to ensure the building is secured and locked. In the later stages of construction there is a greater risk of damage to the property. It is advisable to have patrols during the evenings and at the weekends (this will vary depending on the levels of crime in the surrounding area).
Electronic security systems can help to make facilities accessible to users without the requirement of on-site managers at all times, for example key-fob systems for tennis courts.
However, it is important to have some way of recording and tracking use in case of any damage and for insurance purposes. If multiple keys are in use for tenants and users, there should be good systems to record who holds keys and to ensure keys are always returned or cancelled when a tenant or member leaves.
Effective security management means putting in place the right fittings, personnel and procedures in place.
- The building should ideally be fitted with CCTV that is operational from a central site office. Any monitoring would take place from this location. Cameras should cover as much of the building as possible but must include the entrances of the car park and all access points to the building;
- The system used should hold a hard drive of a minimum of three months and be easily recordable onto CD / DVD. This will mean the police can be provided copies of specific times if required;
- Grills / roller shutters should be fitted on the fire exits;
- An access control system should be put in place to monitor who is entering and leaving the building. There are several options for this, ranging from a simple sign-in system to an all-in-one package that only gives access to authorised individuals.
- The first year of the building being open is the period when it is most vulnerable to crime and needs greatest protection;
- A buildings / facilities manager should be appointed to reduce the number of hours a security firm is used.
- Any security firm and guards contracted should be Security Industry Authority (SIA) licensed. This is a legal requirement. It is possible to employ security guards directly but this is not advisable. A reputable company ensures cover for illness and holidays and is better able to judge the standard of individual guards.
- The particulars of each system will vary dependent on your security needs. In deciding which system to adopt several factors should be considered, including:
- Is the building open to the public or limited to private tenants?
- Is the building open twenty-four hours-a-day?
- What level of access to the building is required out-of-hours?
- Is there a need to keep data on usage of the building? If so, how will the data collected be used?
- What is the crime level in the surrounding area?
- What are the insurance implications?