LR: Rahul Odedra, editor, William Maseko, Mohamed Suliman and Muhammad Ihsanullah Qamar. LR: Rahul Odedra, editor, William Maseko, Mohamed Suliman and Muhammad Ihsanullah Qamar.

A key topic debated in the final panel discussion of the inaugural Hotelier Middle East Safety & Security Summit was the importance of training to increasing efficiency of security departments.

Speaking ot the panel, which took place at Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Dubai on June 17, Mohamed Suliman, security director at Hilton Worldwide MEA commented that security departments must “sell themselves” to management in order to achieve the finance needed to implement departmental training programmes.

“We don’t get enough money to spend on our departments,” Suliman commented. “We need to understand the budget; everything in a hotel is about money so we need to know our budget, spend it well and let management know we did things well so that the next time they will trust us to do something even better.”

William Maseko, assistant loss prevention manager at Courtyard and Marriott Apartments, agreed that security is not a priority for financial departments however bringing in more training programmes will “create a case” for security departments to gain more finance.

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“You need to create a training plan for each and every associate. The first person the guest sees is the security guard so it’s important that they have a positive image. This makes a positive impact on the business,” he commented.

However, according to the third panellist Muhammad Ihsanullah Qamar, cluster director of environment, health & safety, Al Bustan Rotana and Al Murooj Rotana, Dubai, creating an effective training programme would require reworking Security Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“SOPs are sometimes difficult to understand for the workforce; they confuse our associates. We need to make sure the policies are translated into actions and then these actions are communicated to the colleagues, integrating health and safety with sustainability. We want training to be simple, otherwise your procedures are just a list of words you keep repeating,” he said.

Qamar also highlighted the importance of getting management on board with training programmes to ensure. He commented: “It used to be the opposite way around. If the manager is trained he or she is very enthusiastic and committed to supervise this going down to the bottom. We need to make sure the managers are on board then go to the bottom level.”

The sponsors and exhibitors at the inaugural Hotelier Middle East Security and Safety Summit were Arecont Vision, VingCard Elsafe, World Security and Meat & Livestock Australia.