How to Boost Guest Screening Proficiency at Your Property

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Apr 21, 2016 7:45:00 AM

You are running through your scheduled tasks for the day.

It’s a typical day. You are feeling good.

But, you get a call from your security supervisor that changes everything.

Someone used a cooler to sneak in and sell fake merchandise of your soccer team to guests. It got through because the merchandise was hidden in plastic under ice.

You are not feeling good anymore. Your blood pressure jumps – you react.

You have to respond along with the police, generate an incident report, trespass the suspects.

Then, you must spend the rest of your afternoon locating the unsuspecting victims who bought the fraudulent merchandise. You need to save the day.

It is a lot of responsibility to take on. What needs to be done?

Major League Soccer's New Approach to Security

On Tuesday, Major League Soccer (MLS) introduced increased security measures to overcome this challenge.

The standards are set to effect all 20 of the league’s stadium.

Matt Pentz of the Seattle Times reports that “a new minimum bag policy and guest screening measures to go into effect for this weekend’s matches.”

What does this mean for members of the league?

The new policy will enforce tighter security measures that require guests to “be ‘fully scanned’ either by a full pat-down or via electronic wand.”

“Public safety is a top priority and the enhanced security measures will ensure that fans are able to continue to enjoy MLS and SUM events in a safe environment,” MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said in the league release.

We see an uptick in the trend of tighter security at properties.

Whether you are running a stadium or any other type of property for that matter, your safety team must be ‘tight’ to maintain the level of safety guests expect.

“The updated security measures bring us in line with professional sports leagues around the United States and Canada while maintaining the unique sports experience that is MLS. The safety of our fans, players and staff is paramount." - Ray Whitworth, Senior VP of Security and Operations, Major League Soccer

In Pentz’s article, he outlines eight more items that have been added to the prohibited items list for MLS stadiums.

How do these additional items affect your security team?

There are eight more items for them to remember and to find!

Security teams must be well trained, and you need to be able to trust them.

Trust your team by giving them the ability to be ‘trustworthy.’

How do you achieve this level of confidence? Train them – all of the time.

Regardless of your property type, your teams have some key elements to monitor. Outline the requirements.

Then, continuously conduct tabletop exercises and intense training. Training can help ensure your team is better prepared for guest screening.

Keep reading; we are going to share how training exercises are powerful.

Preparation Ensures Guests Are 'Fully Scanned'

Role-playing security exercises are not new.

Security teams in every industry role play to improve their process for:

  • Handling issues
  • Incident scenarios
  • General security situations

What’s one of the biggest challenges you face when new security measures become policy?

It’s training your staff.

Part-time staff come and go so you’re always charged with keeping someone up to date on new standards.

When you introduce tabletop techniques into your training process, your team understands why and how they are to perform their duties. 

Consider the training and awareness required to prevent items from slipping through the cracks.

You have to be alert and ready to confront guests. It is not easy to be consistent and efficient to achieve a successful search while simultaneously maintaining the highest level of guest relations.

Create an evolving training program for current, new, and temporary staff that allows you to:

  • Combine relevant policies and processes
  • Introduce new security measures as needed

You never know when an event could affect your property. However, you must be ready for anything. Always.

Develop scenarios where staff not only learns what you need them to do but also how you need them to do it.

Eliminate questions, confusion, and all the stress associated with being unprepared.

Help your security team develop their ‘super powers’.

Rather than reacting, they become proactive at catching prohibited items.

They are the front line of safety for all guests and the first interaction with staff guests have.

Train your staff well.

Develop their instincts through role-playing exercises. Help them prepare for events. Assist them to perform better.

Keep guests safe.

Tabletop Exercises Benefit Guest Screening & Your Staff

Constant practice will empower your security team, improve your operation, and lead to increased apprehension of weapons.

How your security handles the effects of the changing security landscape and guest screening – must start today.

Don’t worry, though, you will immediately realize many of the benefits of tabletop exercises.

Role Ownership & Accountability

Running through scenarios with your security team focuses them. Everyone learns the fundamentals for ensuring sufficient security.

During this time, assess their abilities, actually coach them, and then hold them accountable for preventing dangerous weapons from entering your venue.

Educate them, let them take ownership, and then hold them accountable to perform.

Identifiable Value

Taking time to train your staff shows them you care about their success and you are serious about the safety of the patrons. All the effort you’re putting into managing your property must be passed down to your team. Training is the only way to achieve this. 

Practicing allows you to find errors without being in a live environment. Whether it’s a problem in your process or personnel, take a closer look at the details.

Recognizing your team and the importance of their roles shows them that you value their place on your team. Investing the time and effort in training elevates your staff's ability and professionalism.

Challenge: Accepted

Rather than forcing processes onto your staff, let them figure it out. Let your team deliberate ways to improve your operation.

While walking through various scenarios, they might find specific details in the process to improve, which might be instances you never thought of yourself.

They are the frontline. They see and hear everything before you do.

Tabletop exercises give you and your team the autonomy to practice without consequence. You can test:

  • Ideas
  • Models
  • Techniques

Make mistakes now, not when it counts.

Augments Confidence

Train your team to be confident experts.

Training allows staff to enhance their knowledge base. They have the advantage of the practice scenarios not being real-life situations.

Trying it out during an exercise builds the aptitude for being able to handle things when it matters most.

When you give them feedback, they know they’re performing to your standards. Foster an environment of confidence and reinforce it with positive outcomes.


Many things occur when your security team is responsible for preventing prohibited items onto your property.

You can improve your process to help your team become better aware of what to look for and how to proceed as needed.

Performing common scenarios and how to respond can surface a collection of solutions for your team. Safeguard your organization’s effectiveness.

Unmatched Awareness

More solutions lead to enhanced awareness. Train your employees to understand the importance of their role. They are vital to the safety of every single person at the stadium that day. 

Exercises lead awareness, which results in faster response times, increased collection of dangerous weapons, and safer guests.

It leads to positive memories and peace of mind.

Efficiency Is the Icing on the Cake

Training creates smarter employees and tougher security.

What’s the result? Efficiency.

  • Accurate & Complete Documentation
  • Analytics
  • Improved Communication
  • Full Awareness

Exercises give your team the ability to be highly efficient. It is the only way to be a proactive operation.

Staff Respects Proactive Leaders

Proactive leadership requires responsibility of learning, preparing, preventing, and triumphing alongside your team.

Dynamic leaders encourage the best out of each of their staff and are the ones that you hear people talking about with respect and admiration.

Over to You

The safety of your guests and your job depends on heightened security – and you have that under control. You can rest easy.

Yes, elevated measures can make guest screening stressful for your staff and guests. However, it makes the rest of the day possible and enjoyable. And that’s what matters most.

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