Monday, November 20, 2006

What some people will try with ID and doors.

Our policy on the doors, for the casino or anywhere else, is:

1. ONLY a valid Australian Driver's License, valid passport or valid State Proof of Age Card will be accepted.
2. There are no exceptions to Rule 1.

I don't care if the photo clearly resembles you in every conceivable manner. If it's not valid ID, you won't be coming on, and there really isn't much scope for debate or discussion on the matter. It's both managerial policy and, in many cases, the law, and I am in no position to voluntarily afford discretion at all.

If you're male, it doesn't matter how much you try and intimidate me. If you're female, it doesn't matter how attractive you are or how low cut your top is. Arguing your case, bribing me, threatening me or promising sexual favours will not influence or dissuade me from doing my job, and you'll simply further reinforce my decision not to let you in. . Trying to charge the door or attacking me doesn't work either, because I simply call for backup, physically restrain you using reasonable force, which is directly proportionate to your efforts and methods you use in your attempt to assault or get past me, and you'll not only be refused entry tonight, but for perpetuity. So it's really not worth it. I've seen it all before, and whatever you've got is nothing new!

Even if you do get past me or injure me, do you really think we'll just let you saunter into the club, buy some drinks and start dancing? You'll be found and dragged out, very quickly and very publicly, to face the police, criminal charges and a conviction. It's not worth it for something as minor as being knocked back and trying to save face.

It's also immaterial that you are out for a works do, xxth birthday, wedding, anniversary, awards night or stamp club outing. To me, you're all 'patrons', the only discriminating factors being whether you meet the dress standards, whether you're sober enough to let in and whether you're ID is sufficient or not.

So far, I've had:

People presenting me with passports or other ID that are three years expired. They then complain when I don't accept them.

People with international driving licenses, who then protest that because the license is valid in their country, we should accept it as valid ID here. There's a big sign outside all our doors that indicate otherwise. For some reason, people accept written information as more authoritative than the same information conveyed verbally.

Those with expired ID that are out by a couple of weeks. No, I'm not prepared to afford discretion and let you in, because to do so would not incentivise you to renew your licence like you damn well should do. The date of expiry is clearly printed on the ID and in the accompanying counterpart, so there's no excuse that you're 'only just realised' that it was expired!

Idiots who, with duplicate IDs, try and blag their mates in by giving them the duplicate to present to me 30 seconds after they've shown me the original one. Do they really think I'm not switched on enough to recognise it, or at least get a sense of Deja Vu?

Patrons presenting ID cards in which they've 'altered', usually through scratching, their dates of birth, so 1988 looks like 1986. Running my thumb over the printed numbers on a card, as I normally do, quickly reveals this, and they usually have little defence, other than 'oh, it got scratched'. Pretty bloody convenient place for the scratching to occur, especially in a very isolated manner.

People who flash the ID card at me as they try and hurry past. I can think of nothing else more likely to arouse my suspicions. Stop, come back and let's look at that properly. Ah, yes, you're a male and you've presented me with your older sister's ID card. Thankyou and goodnight.

The 'do you know who I am' people, who attempt to name drop or imply status, reputation and/or repercussions in an attempt to persuade me to change my decision. I know who you are, you are a person who is not geting in. Who do I think I am? I think I'm the person who is not letting you in. I have status as well, insofar as I have status as an agent of the licencee and thus responsible for enforcing legislation and policy in regards to admittance and responsible service of alcohol. I have influence derived from said status, and the repercussions of me not letting you in are that you have to go somewhere else. Oh, and don't worry, I know people too. They wear blue and are part of the biggest gang in the world. I'll call on them to assist me if need be, likewise you would your 'mates' who subsequently fail to appear.

Any more 'types'?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A poem for dealers

Putting coins in drop boxes, from patrons wages
Causes headaches for Security when it takes ages
To pick them up from off the floor
Several hours into a shift or more
When changing boxes, so please take note
And perhaps display this poem I wrote
Advise patrons who wish to pay with gold
To goto the main cage, from which chips are sold.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Skating on thin ice and emergency calls

Regrettably, I now hold anybody who gets drunk at work in disdain, because more often than not, they make life difficult for us. They also get me in trouble!

What I didn't mention in the Melbourne Cup post was that, when dragging the drug addled guy into the office, his brother pulled me off him and started on me. A colleague headlocked him, which in itself is not allowed, but he was still significantly struggling and kicking out. I tried to sweep kick him, as taught in my Security Operations course, but screwed it up. I then went to punch him, something that, in hindsight, I can't really justify. On Thursday night I was called into the office, and advised that, under no circumstances, can I strike patrons. That includes punching and kicking. Fair enough, I didn't know that, and won't do that in future. Shouldn't have punched the guy anyway, but I stand behind my kick (or at least the attempt) and the justification behind it, as I had situations in the police where I had someone handcuffed and restrained, was standing behind them and they kicked backwards, taking my kneecap out. Nonetheless, I will need to be careful for a bit.

It was the reasoning in that previous sentence that prevented me from being further involved in a serious incident of disorder outside the main casino entrance last night. Aside from a fight early in the night, it was pretty cruisy until about 3am. It was about this time that we removed two groups of idiots from Diamond Lounge, who were intent on fighting each other. Outside, a couple of them started fighting with the shift manager, and threatening the shift supervisor, who was wound up to the extent that he wanted to punch them. Since I was on 'careful, you don't want to get fired just yet' mode, I didn't intervene. We stayed inside the main entrance and were writing up our notebooks, when a request for surveillance to 'copy' the main entrance came over the radio. Unofficially, this means that if you're not a fixed point or otherwise tied up, you should make the area, as it's likely to be a troublesome person. The call is made so that surveillance actively monitor the area and can call for more people if they deem it necessary. Therefore, if you make the area anyway, you're helping both your colleagues and surveillance.

Three of the males had returned, and one, who was not let in, was not happy at all. Claiming that we were discriminating against him, and that he had, in fact, assisted us in stopping the fight in the bar previously, he took issue with one particular security officer. When that officer made a tactical withdrawal, the patron was incensed and attempted to charge the door. This triggers, for most security officers with any experience, the internal alarm that this person is one step away from assaulting the security officers, for if they are willing to charge the door, they will be willing to injure anyone who gets in their way, having already consciously decided to ignore the authority or orders of any uniformed personnel requesting them to desist. The other officers who were already at the door ran forward and took the limbs of the male and started to restrain him by pinning him on the floor. I tried to grab a leg, but then remembered that, as had happened on Melbourne Cup Day, it was likely that this guy's mates, seeing what was happening, would try and intervene, so people needed to be free to deal with them. Sure enough, one of the mates made a half hearted attempt at intervening. I gently eased him away and advised him not to get involved.

Meanwhile, two more, also related to the group, had run in and were clawing at the officers restraining the original male. It had the potential to turn into a free-for-all, very quickly, and with the potential for people on all sides to suffer serious injury. I shouted up that an emergency was occurring and we required all available officers to assist at the main casino entrance. More officers had arrived and were attempting to restrain the other two, whilst the original male was putting up one hell of a fight even though three people were on him. A crowd had gathered and were watching. They risked getting in the way or coming up with the idea of playing hero and intevening. I advised them to get back.

The original male was nearly at the glass doors and risked taking officers headfirst through the glass. I ran over to him. Dropped down. Grabbed his two legs. Pinned them to the floor. Still struggling. Nearly through the glass. I pushed one of the doors open. Luckily the door next to it still hadn't been replaced from when it had been smashed the week before. Now he was down. Pinned his legs. Still screaming and shouting. More people were gathering. Get back. No, NOW. He was down, not moving. Threat subsided. I stood up and saw a large crowd at the main door looking at the commotion. Things were loud, messy and all over the place. The guard at the door was also watching, probably oblivious to the crowd behind her. "Do crowd control!" I shouted, whilst the supervisor, who had now arrived, ordered her to close the main doors. By now all but one were down and restrained. The last one still had an arm tucked under him. I ran over, dropped down and tried to help free his arm. Pressure point pain compliance does NOT work on people who are heavily intoxicated, and it required sheer brute force, along with shouting directly in his ear, before it was free.

Through all this, the police had been summoned as an emergency call. They were on the way, so my colleagues started moving the males, still putting up a fight, into the nearby security office. I was not involved in restraining them, so there was no need for me to go in there as well. I stayed outside, writing up my notebook. Then there was a commotion in the main gaming floor, as three separate patrons decided to start on each other. They were quickly fired off. I asked the boss when we'd be getting a water cannon to deal with these people. Police arrived and dealt with the other three.

The final incident occurred when we turfed everyone out of one of the smoking terraces into another. By this time of the morning, the only ones that remain are staff just finishing shift, or deadweights that live at the casino and will quite happily spend every last penny on drink, cigarettes and gambling, yet have no social status in life and cannot afford the money, which would and should have been spent on such things as basic subsistience. It's a reverse hedonism of sorts. Half an hour later, one of the patrons, once again an indigenous fellow, was causing problems, throwing ashtrays and bins around. On getting in there, it became clear, through incessant reptition of the same phrase, that a man was unhappy with a woman. "SHE STOLE MY BEER!" he yelled to anyone who would listen, which, after the first one hundred times, was very few. He alternated between physically threatening and simply letting off hot air. We eventually persuaded him to leave the casino, and he spent the next hour alternating between the main and second casino entrances, whinging "SHE STOLE MY BEER" and accusing us of doing nothing about it. In that respect, he was correct. Eventually, he got bored and left, but not before he'd sealed the catchphrase for the next few weeks amongst the team who were on that night.

Another ten hour shift awaits tonight and Sunday night. Deep joy. I wonder how long I'll go before my 'low profile' way of working goes out the window...

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Funniest drunk I've ever seen...

...was on Sunday night, before the Melbourne Cup but worthy of a post all of his own!

I was on the door of one of the casino entrances, when this drunk stumbled up, oblivious to our presence, and wondered over to the nearby pub, trying to get in, and rattling the door handles when he realised it was closed. My shouts of "Hey mate, you can't get in there at this hour" were ignored and he instead started talking to the life size statue of the person the pub is named after, located outside the doors! Clearly, the statue had more useful knowledge to impart than I.

The guy wondered up to us, and the conversation went like this:

Drunk Dude: "I'm looking for the back. Where's the back?"
Me: "What back?"
DD: "My mum and cousin said they're at the back and I should meet them there. Where is it?"
Me: "Where's what?"
DD: "The back?"
Me: "The back of what and where exactly?"
DD: "The back of the back?"
Me (giving up): "It's behind the front."
DD: "Thankyou!" *wanders off*

Mr. Intoxico then wondered over to an ATM, spent about five minutes trying to work out how to press the buttons, drew out $200 and stuck it straight into the bin next to it! My colleague and I were nearly doubled up with laughter by now, which was only worsened when the guy stared angrily at the bin and shouted "WHY HAVE YOU STOLEN MY MONEY!?" at it.

The fun wore off when he nearly fell over his own feet down an escalator, and we had to get colleagues to show him the whole 'one foot in front of the other' concept towards the door!

Melbourne Cup 2006 (long)

Melbourne Cup Day 2006 precipitated carnage and feral activity hitherto witnessed on a scale only matched by the England v Paraguay match some months ago!

For those who aren't aware of it, Melbourne Cup is a horse race. A vastly overblown one. It sparks pomp, events and work absences worthy of a World Cup final. Yet, all it ultimately boils down to is a pack of horses racing against each other for two and a half minutes, and is one of several at the race track that day. You would, however, be forgiven for thinking that Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday (which it isn't), if you were to visit many parts of Australia on this day. People use any excuse to skip work and get pissed.

At work, they decided to host a 'spectacular'. This meant that the horse race itself is filled on either side by several hours of drinking and eating, vacuous fashion parades and trite competitions. People were encouraged to overspend on costumes they will never wear again; pretend to know more about horse racing than they actually do, with most people probably never watching another horse race for the rest of the year; get ridiculously drunk and watch the free-to-air broadcasted race on a big television in a big room filled with equally egotistical 'socialites' and well-to-dos. Everyone was charged lots of money for the privilege. Then, they joined the general rabble from nearby racecourses to descend upon the casino.

I am, of course, being grossly unkind and exceptionally cynical. Most people were generally well-behaved, had a few drinks and enjoyed themselves. Unfortunately, I am required to deal with those who are badly behaved, have had far too much to drink and are intent on ruining the enjoyment for everyone else. That therefore has the tendancy to trigger the involuntary psychological effect of me tarnishing everyone with the same brush. It's not the case, of course.

Management slipped up, in my opinion, by take the opposite line to what they should have done on a day like this. We normally have a fairly strict 'intox' policy, whereby those who are displaying signs of being intoxicated are knocked back without question. Today, however, we were told that, unless people were 'staggering and unable to stand up', they were to be let in. The logic for this, of course, was to enable people to come in and, having already got the gambling bug from having had a flutter on a horse race, would proceed to spend (sorry, lose) vast quantities of money on our table and electronic games. People who had been to our 'spectacular' would also rightly expect to spend a bit of time in the casino after having a few drinks as well, so I can understand management's desire that we relax the standards a bit to allow for those who had chosen to come to our 'spectacular' out of several others hosted that day to be given freedom of the complex. However, as I predicted early in the day, this was to cause significant problems.

For a start, if someone's already drunk and we let them in, then the first thing they'll do before gambling is drink some more, because losing your money on games in which the odds are vastly stacked against you makes much more sense and is far easier to swallow and justify when you're pissed. This means they'll go from 'drunk but not staggering' to 'legless' in a short space of time. From a security perspective, this makes our job harder, because they then cause problems, get cut off and (usually) complain, and we have to kick them out. It's also a duty of care issue, but it's something I'm not likely to be sued on so I don't worry too much about that.

Furthermore, it means that we're letting the other 'spectaculars' and racecourses get their punters pissed then offload them on to us for the inevitable consequences and 'cleaning up', both figuratively and literally. For one reason or another, a lot of people choose to end their days or nights at the casino. Instead, we should have taken a very strong line and knocked back anyone who was intoxicated to the point where it was noticeable, apologise for the inconvenience and suggest they continue the party at home, or the beach, or somewhere that isn't our property. Still, I did as I was told, and joined the rest of the gang in damage control mode when the inevitable flood of problems started.

First was a guy, drugged up, who hit out at one of our officers when refused entry. I was near the door just as he hit out, and tried to assist dragging him to the security office, as he was still violently resisting even though three officers were on him. However, his brother then kicked off at us and tried pulling us away, so more of us had to jump on him as well. Since, for some silly reason, none of us had handcuffs, this led to the scene of a significant number of officers tied up in pinning these two idiots to the floor in the security room when it was extremely busy outside. Had we had handcuffs they could have been restrained and let off as much steam as they liked without hurting themselves or us.

They both calmed down, but the male originally restrained then kicked off again and we had to floor him. I sat on his arm for a while and inadvertendly cut off circulation. Got it going again but couldn't release pressure as he was still exceptionally agitated. He was arrested by the police who arrived and continued to throw himself around in the paddy wagon.

Next was a guy who was bottled on the head by a girl in the nightclub. I wasn't sure of the exact story on this one, but it wasn't a particularly serious injury and the girl ended up being released whilst the bottling victim was detained by police, so he must have started it. Was pretty tame as far as assaults go.

I spent some time in the nightclub, stood on the stage overlooking the crowd, and formed the decision in my head within 10 seconds that I would never be venturing in there outside of work duties again. The place has that 'smell' to it, the wooden floor is sticky with spilt alcohol, and the place is full of people who are consuming too much alcohol. So, like any licensed premises in the world then.

I left the club to help colleagues with a guy who was refusing to leave from the downstairs food/bar area. We put on the usual show for the cameras, which involves over-exaggerated hand signals in the direction of the door and defensive 'palms out' gestures, and it became quickly apparent that he wasn't going to leave through being asked nicely. My colleagues grabbed an arm each and started to move him, at which point one of his mates started on my boss. We both shoved him back, and he grabbed the boss's throat, shoved me back and threatened to stab him. Another officer arrived and started struggling with this second guy, whilst I tried to shout up on the radio for backup. Unfortunately, the shove had knocked my radio and somehow turned it off. I jumped in and tried kneeing the guy to floor him, but it didn't work.

It's worth pointing out at this stage that the usual defensive tactics and restraints don't work on junkies. I could break their arm and they still wouldn't feel it. Instead, it requires sheer brute force and overpowerment to restrain them, no matter how big or small they are.

We removed them both out of the nightclub exit and tried to close it so they couldn't come back. Several times they charged the doors. We shoved them back, they charged the doors again. It was when one of them grabbed another colleague that we all decided enough was enough. By now, more officers had arrived, so we slammed the doors open, floored one guy and shoved the other against a wall. For some reason, a wristlock worked on the guy we had against the wall. Tempted as I was to break his wrist outright, I instead applied pressure until the pain registered, then told him to calm down or it would increase. It may have been that, but more likely seeing the futility of restraining with 6 people pinning him against a wall, but he calmed down. His mate, however, had not, and was still lashing out. He went limp when we overpowered him and started to drag him back from the office, so we grabbed a limb each and walked him back. Once in the office, we again pinned him until he calmed down. They were both released without charged, after consultation with police.

Next we had three women who drank far too much and objected, in ear-deafening pitch, to being rejected from both casino entrances. Their logic was that, because they weren't directly physically hurting anyone, they should be allowed in and to drink as much as they wanted. Responsible Service of Alcohol laws and Harm Minimisation policy explanations were lost on them, and a temptation to invent and cite the Drunken Idiots Act 2006 at them wouldn't have gone down well, so we simply told them that nothing they could say or do that would allow them entry. They left, and we thought that was the end of it. Nope! An hour later, the hotel cocktail lounge called up to ask us to remove three female 'intoxes' who had been cut off. Surprise, surprise, it was the Little Women again. They followed us all the way back to the casino after we escorted them from the cocktail bar, and wouldn't even accept the explanation from the police, who turned up shortly after, that there was no way on earth any staff member in the resort worth their salt would let them drink any more that day. I prayed they would kick off and get locked up, thus alleviating headaches for all concerned, but sadly they did not. They hung around and abused us until they got bored and left. Throughout the night we removed many, many drunks who were starting to cause problems.

That was more or less it for my involvement in the night, apart from racing all over the casino floor to a phantom fight that was called up in the wrong location. 'Feral' would not even begin to describe the idiots or incidents I came across, and the fact that the casino was full to bursting and one had to cut a swathe through the crowd even to get from the office to the canteen reinforced the fact that this was, as my boss pointed out later, one of the worst days/nights of the year!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday night fever

Was manic from start to finish tonight!

Whereas on Friday night the fights and 'incidents' started around midnight, tonight they commenced from around ten! My first encounter, whilst assisting two colleagues with waking up a sleeping 'patron', was an allegation by bar staff that a guy trying to get into a taxi had poured water over his head. The bar staff wanted him barred, so I approached the taxi with a colleague to try and bring him back to the security office. The guy was maggoted, his older brother kept getting in my way and preventing me from speaking to him, and eventually he decided to make a run for it. Still in cop mode, I gave chase, and was unable to shout up on the radio as people were hogging it. The idiot then fell over his own two feet a short distance away, with me nearly tripping over him! I jumped back and pinned him to the ground, in a horrible and not very textbook maneouvre that my UDT instructors would have cringed at, but which worked nonetheless. He calms down, we get him up and he is barred for two years, with some nice grazes from his self-inflicted injury to show for it!

Next is a drunk young lady who randomly kicks patrons. Figuring that the next person she kicks will be a 6"7 and 6ft wide drunk bloke who will then turn around and pound her into the ground, I physically hustle her forward and away from unsuspecting victims. Her friend shrieks that security have no right to touch people whilst the girl involved starts abusing me. I skip the legal explanation and tell her I don't give a shit what she thinks. She ends up back in the attached nightclub somehow a few minutes later, kicking people and abusing me. She's out the door again, this time she doesn't come back. Thank goodness!

Finally, one of our lovely indigenous folk decides the place is cursed, yet won't leave. By this point I'd had enough, so whilst my colleagues had endless patience in listening to her ramble on and not leave, I ended up shouting at her to get out, that I didn't give a flying toss about whatever she was talking about and I'd be inflicting my own curse upon her if she didn't leave straight away.

They'd be the most interesting points of a shift that generally consistent of an unreleting stream of general underclass and Great Unwashed streaming through the doors. The best part was, ironically, the quietest part, where I was stood guarding the hotel entrance and only letting house guests in. There I was greeting and chatting with newlyweds, award winners from various industry award nights, and general well-to-doers with more sense than to waste their money in a casino. A far cry from the bottom of the gene pool that inhabits the Main Gaming Floor just 100 metres away!