Total Production


16 June 2008

(London) - Each year University College London (UCL) hosts an annual summer shindig for its graduating students. For this year's event - dubbed The Circus - the organisers contracted AP Security to provide its services for the eighth time in a row.

Lesley Dempsey is AP’s operational manager for the event, in charge of ensuring that both the client and her staff are looked after correctly. “It’s the fourth year I’ve been overseeing things here,” says Lesley. “AP’s main function for the evening is to make sure that everyone is safe.”

This high-class affair sees the college Quad and surrounding buildings turned into the venue for a night of celebration featuring four large music arenas, a fairground with traditional sideshows, casino, chocolate fountains, chill-out zones and a Pimms Tent.

The complexity of the layout of the building presents certain challenges, with AP’s remit including covering over 16 exits. “Because this is such a big university - and a training university - there are certain places, such as laboratories, that are completely off limits,” explains Lesley. “We have a total of 63 staff on duty, which sounds like a large number, but there are a lot of positions to cover as well as a number of response teams to be put in place.

“This year, we’re covering a new part of the building called the Trevor Nelson Room, which attracts a significant number of the younger students, so we have around 10 staff for there alone – three as a response team and the rest laid out stage left, stage right and at the exits. There’s a catering area that’s not normally used as well, so it’s quite a challenge this year.”

But Lesley loves a challenge and her work. “I believe that if you look after your staff, they’ll look after you,” she smiles. “We work hard at making sure that everyone is properly trained and that they’re all aware that whatever position they’re located it, it’s as important as any other. If they’re on an exit and the building has to be evacuated, our guys are always the first port of call. They’re also the first people they see when they enter a venue, so we make sure that our staff’s attitude is friendly and courteous at all times. Our ethos is to treat people as we would want to be treated ourselves.”

And this attitude certainly pays off as UCL invites AP back year after year. "UCL Summer Ball, in terms of the venue, is not an easy event run,” concludes Mark Williams, UCLU Events Manager. “We have a very difficult site with plenty of potential hazards to avoid. On taking over UCLU Events in 2007, I found AP's knowledge of the site and the event invaluable. In nearly 10 years of running events in both the student and commercial sector I would struggle to find a security company with a more professional attitude."


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