How an in-house and professional security organisation can help your club improve stewarding procedures
During ESSMA’s Safety and Security Workshop in Copenhagen, Joris De Lange - Matchday Operations & Security Manager - talked about the challenges AFC Ajax has faced in terms of attracting, training and retaining stewards and how they dealt with it by creating their own in-house stewarding company, called Stewarding Triple A.
Due to the many events organised at the multifunctional Johan Cruijff ArenA including football matches, concerts, corporate events, etc. there was a special need for stewarding. They decided to stop working with volunteers and started to think about a modern way to attract, train and reward stewards. As a result, Ajax and the Johan Cruijff ArenA came up with the idea of starting a joined, professional security organisation called Stewarding Triple A.
Within the organisation they were able to take stewarding procedures into their own hands and improve the steward training. Their steward training is based around three main pillars - Customer Service, Safety and Security - which allowed them to form their own host(esse)s, stewards and intervention-stewards, all of whom are working for Stewarding Triple A.
The dedicated training programme includes a basic training, which is based around 5 modules with online exams and three days of practice. In addition, there are annual refresher courses and dedicated courses developed for intervention-stewards and steward-supervisors.
Stewarding Triple A has tried to find ways for fans to see stewards as more than just enforcers of regulations. They have tried to accomplish this by using stewards to surprise fans in the stadium on their birthday or during their first visit as well as by attracting stewards with the same economical and educational background as the fans they will be working with.
Ajax’ new approach to stewarding seems to have delivered positive results so far. As a survey amongst fans, held during the 2016-2017 season, showed that 96% of fans feel safe in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
AFC Ajax and Stewarding Triple A are still looking to improve stewarding procedures in the future, focusing on topics including:
- The use of bodycam by intervention-stewards
- More counter-terrorism training
- More focus on customer service
- A loyalty programme to improve retention of stewards
- A possibility for Stewarding Triple A to cooperate with a commercial security company
- A possibility for Stewarding Triple A to be transformed into a commercial security company
- An in-house, professional security organisation can help your club’s stewarding procedures
- Use an app with additional online courses and online exams to train your stewards
- Train your stewards to prevent any kind of confrontation
- Use annual courses to refresh the most important modules
- Fans feel safer and are more comfortable when they are surrounded by people with the same economical and educational background, this includes stewards
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