Showsec's flexible approach

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The following is a case study from the 2008 FINA Swimming Championship in Manchester.

The 2008 FINA Swimming Championship in Manchester was ambitious both in its aims for the sport and for the unique way in which it was staged. The organiser, FINA, converted the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena into a temporary swimming venue, with two pools (holding a total of 2. 5m litres of water) and seating for over 8, 000 spectators. It was the first time this has been achieved in the UK. For the MEN Arena's in–house security partner, Showsec, this event presented a range of exciting new challenges over several phases of the project. During the month long build, Showsec was required to ensure the production teams, including a visiting team of specialist temporary pool installers from Spain, were fully aware of operational health and safety procedures. In the run up to the event, the company worked with a complicated series of accreditation procedures, introduced in stages, which covered competitors, officials, members of the media and the general public. Finally on the week of the event itself, a team of 90 staff swung into action to ensure the comfort and safety of visitors, athletes and officials. "It was a totally different style of event, " says Showsec's MEN Arena and Projects Manager Paul Joy. "There was a high level of interest from the public, with sold out weekend days and very strong weekday turnouts. Situations could change by the minute and we all had to be entirely flexible in our approach towards the event. We had a constant presence during the preparations to the event and built a good rapport with the pool team and production, making sure they operated in a safe environment. "On event day, our staff were thoroughly alert, with a good understanding of the accreditation system, ensuring that the different types of guests were given the comfort and privacy they needed. " According to James Allen, Director of Events at MEN Arena, "Showsec were on board with us for the full run of 34 days – longer than any other show at the arena in the past. They stepped up their presence as the build progressed. During the event itself, they had 90 people per session. Their team members built up good relationships with the press, athletes and organisers during the event. Both the MEN Arena and the organising committee were very happy with all aspects of the operation. "

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