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How Priavo Security can keep touring artists safe

In a Q&A with IQ, Pete Murphy, operations director of Priavo Security, explains why live event security is more important than ever – and reveals how Priavo can help

13 Apr 2016

Pete Murphy, Priavo Security

What long-term impact do you see the recent terror attacks across Europe having on security within the live events industry?

Tragically, the security climate has changed considerably in Europe. Crowded places are being targeted to cause mass casualties; coordinated multiple and simultaneous attacks result in emergency response teams and agencies quickly becoming overwhelmed, and fear and panic is being multiplied – a tactic we are well familiar with in the UK, post-IRA. This broadening of IS/Daesh’s modus operandi, from its previous focus on western lifestyles to, in particular, cultural and entertainment sites, is significant. It highlights the escalation in security across Europe and the importance of choosing the correct security option.

The music and events industry must now address security very seriously. Venues need to increase their security to avoid becoming the next target, as attackers will always look for maximum impact with weakest resistance. There is a duty of care and obligation to provide safe travel, not only to the artists but also to the crew supporting them and to the fans attending the shows. Security should be chosen wisely.

How long has Priavo been established in the market and what are your full range of security services? What percentage is within live music and entertainment, both here in the UK and internationally?

I left the military in 2008 after 11 years of service and formed Priavo Security, having gained considerable exposure to various security scenarios across the corporate, private and government sectors. Over 20 years’ experience within the private security sector formed an important array of global contacts, allowing Priavo to be continuously resourceful wherever we operate.

Our first task was on behalf of a renowned LA based event planner, for whom we carried out security at a high-profile celebrity wedding in Cannes. Our client base grew steadily through word of mouth within the music and events industry; however, during the last two years we have witnessed rapid growth and expansion due the global security climate, terrorism and lone-wolf attacks. Clients are nervous and demand for heightened security measures has grown considerably. We have experienced this across the events, entertainments, financial and corporate sectors. Our music business has seen the most significant growth in the last six months, as tour managers feel the need for more specialised security and greater experience. Artists are feeling vulnerable in the current global situation, in particular since the Bataclan and Brussels Airport terror attacks.

Our first music task was for a well known US rock group who had concerns about travelling to higher-risk countries on their tour. Additional security was requested to give the band members the confidence to continue the tour in areas experiencing civil protests and anti-US sentiment. Our first task for the music industry was executed as we would any other, with military planning and precision backed by our global military and civilian networks.

Our security services include executive protection, travel risk assessments, reconnaissance of all venues, media access, crowd control, perimeter security, contingency planning, surveillance, full logistical support of all third parties, secure transportation, co-ordination and deconfliction with existing venue and band security where required.

The majority of our clientèle are US-based, and we carry out confidential security deployments across the globe including South America, Asia, the Middle East and more recently throughout much of Europe.

Until recently only a small percentage of our clients were from the music industry; however, we are seeing an increasing number of enquiries from this sector due to the current climate

How is your workload broken down?

We regularly deploy on a range of security tasks covering mainly music tours, high profile bespoke events, roadshows and corporate travel safety. All of these include the following:

  • In-country travel risk assessments (TRA) to understand the current climate and potential threats
  • Security advance: to arrive in country and ensure all security protocols are in place, liaise with government, internal security teams and third parties, give real time atmospherics, carry out recces of all relevant areas and give feedback to all incoming production and crew or event planners
  • Reconnaissance of all venues, transportation, airports, routes, hotels, safe havens.
  • Contingency planning: create a clear and concise plan to deliver to the band/VIP, security and crew explaining what to do in the event of an emergency
  • Operational support: we have executive protection operatives with specialised skillsets to complement each other depending on the task, and we will advise on the number and tier of operatives required. Further operational support will be provided from base

What makes Priavo’s services stand out from other security companies who operate within the live market?

Our brand values differentiate us in the marketplace and sum the team up: Adaptability, fortitude, integrity and loyalty.

Priavo Security have a meticulous, military precision and process to managing security. This is audited annually by an independent third party and has been reflected by the award of the ISO 9001:2008 certification. The wealth of security knowledge in the management team comes from hands-on British special forces experience.

Most importantly, Priavo work with in partnership with our clients to really understand how they operate and ensure we deliver flexible, effective security services while minimising the level of disruption to manage and mitigate potential threats.

Our objective is to help bands continue to tour confidently and not let terrorism stand in the way of entertainment

What level of training do your security staff have?

All of our operatives are vetted, licensed and professionally qualified. Exceptional military background and time served undertaking tasks for clients across the globe ensure standards are of the highest level.

The physical skillset necessary for executive protection can be taught over time, but the dedication, adaptability and integrity necessary to do the job well is often harder to find. All of our operatives are respected for their skill, discretion and ability to execute rapid and confidential security deployments. Our teams regularly work across both the private and public sectors and understand how to blend in and maintain a low profile. They have a high degree of situational awareness and are experienced in correctly assessing threats and employing the appropriate countermeasures. All possess strong communication skills and the highest moral and professional standards.

All operatives in the field are fully supported by the Priavo office-based operations team, experienced in logistical planning, account and travel management.

Following your attendance at the ILMC conference this year, what are your business objectives to engage further within the international live music industry?

Our objective is to help bands continue to tour confidently and not let terrorism stand in the way of entertainment.

Our established global network is paramount to deliver in-country support and intelligence. Priavo has the means to quickly deploy additional resource across Europe and beyond, and we offer a range of security services to offer a complete operational package or enhance existing measures for touring artists and bands.