26th June 2018
Written on 15th June 2018
Undercover and on the road: Travelling with private security
When you think of private security chances are images of burly men in dark suits whispering into their sleeves spring to mind. It is something of a mysterious world to many of us. But for travelling VIPs, working with security teams has become a practical reality. And right there behind them are people like Australian global safety and security consultant Ian Norrington.
Specialising in protecting entertainment clients, Ian travels the world ensuring his clients’ safety. It is 24/7 high-pressure role, but one that he explains comes naturally to him.
“I think it’s innate,” Ian says. “As far back as I can remember I was a protector. At school when kids were being bullied or out with mates when I was older, if anyone had to step up to keep the group safe I always felt the role was with me.”
For Ian, there is no such thing as a typical day.
“If you are on tour with back to back shows things can pretty much level out,” he says. “One venue’s backstage does not differ that much to another. That said there are days when you are waking up in Argentina, watching someone have lunch in Santiago and going to bed, albeit 26 hours later, in Rio. So, it has its moments.”
While Ian’s home is in Australia, he spends much of his time travelling the world with his clients – in just the last year he managed to travel more than 250,000 air miles. With that experience he says Australia is a unique place to work.
“Aussies are a lot more relaxed than some other nations when it comes to celebrity and only recently with the ongoing evolution of social media has this changed,” he says. “But in general, it’s pretty chilled. I have walked down Pitt St Mall (Sydney) with actors, models, and pop stars and not been bothered.”
That said, some security challenges are the same the world over: “Paparazzi chasing you in Paris, New York or Sydney are still annoying no matter what language they swear at you in!”
And then there are airports, every security guard’s greatest challenge.
“The fact anyone can get into a domestic terminal in Australia is crazy,” he says. “I have principles arrive on domestic flights and it’s a challenge to navigate a route to cars, purely because of fans and paparazzi at the arrival gate.”
Thankfully though, efforts behind the scenes by airlines can make arrivals easier and, he says, working closely with an experienced travel company is key to supporting his clients.
“Plans can change three times in a minute, so having a travel company on board is a huge help…it’s all about ease of travel,” he says. “The knowledge they have as to preferred travel comforts is great. They usually send my hotel rider ahead and connect me with the relevant people so arrival at hotels can be seamless.”
The Appointment Group’s General Manager of Asia Pacific Film and Media Alli Pratt has worked closely with Ian and agrees the role of travel company is to not only be responsive to changing situations but use the experience to plan ahead.
“We know the challenges consultants like Ian face when they are on the move constantly,” she says. “Our job is to be there in the background working as part of the team to ensure our clients get where they need to be safely and on time.”
And as for the burning question - yes, Ian does own a sharp suit.
“When it’s time to wear a suit for a premiere, it’ the pinnacle of the job,” he says. “All the mundane same-same days staring at a carpet in a hotel corridor are a big contrast to a red carpet. So maybe not black but I am often seen on point in a sharp suit somewhere. Earpiece optional.”
If you are travelling and need advice around security, TAG Global Film & Media Travel is here to help. Contact Alli Pratt at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 413 743 183.
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