AN IPSWICH firm is being called on to provide security for up to 25 private parties per week, with hosts growing increasingly fearful of gatecrashers.
Rent-a-cop general manager Clinton Stephen said he had seen a sharp increase in “maintaining order” at house parties since starting the security company in 2006.
He now employs up to 50 staff at a time to handle the demand for security staff at the busiest times – usually on weekends in the second half of the year.
Mr Stephen said the Facebook phenomenon had a lot to do with the number of parties that attracted unwanted attention.
“We are not there just to keep unwanted guests away, but also to ensure it's a safe environment – we can identify potential issues and try to prevent a situation rather than just react to it,” Mr Stephen said.
“Our job is to maintain the social order and to make sure our client does not breach their duty of care to the guests.”
Keeping parties under control can extend as far as providing breath testing units to guests at a party, so that they can make sure they are not over the alcohol limit before driving home.
When Sue Harris recently organised her daughter's 18th birthday, she was initially reluctant to employ security guards because it might be “overkill.”
But her opinion changed once the guests started to arrive.
“There were about 50 kids aged 17 to 18 and only me and my husband and another couple there,” Mrs Harris said.
“Having the security there I think had a lot to do with the lack of trouble, because they don't just provide security but also make sure the kids have a lift home, or if a kid drinks a bit too much they'll ring the parents.”
While there is no official arrangement between security providers and police, Ipswich District crime prevention coordinator Sergeant Nadine Webster said she encouraged party organisers to use licensed security guards if need be.
Police also have a website called Party Safe where people can register their parties.
“Notifying police of your party at least two weeks in advance can also help police be better prepared and to know what to expect in the event that they are required to attend,” Sgt Webster said.
“We have seen how parties can get out of hand and how it can become an issue, not only for police but for the owners of the residence.
“I would strongly recommend looking at the Party Safe site as part of your planning.”
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.