Come back ZinZan, all is forgiven... CCTV saves lives!
Prior to 2011 most of the CCTV system was aimed at keeping burglars out and keeping cash in the tills!. It was not until an incident in early 2011 that changed our entire thinking with regards to the security of the business and its public.
While I was managing Slattery's Pub, I had an "eyes to nipples" standoff with Zinzan Brooke. It was the 19th of March 2011 and England had come to The Aviva Stadium to win the Gram Slam. The English were hammered 24-8 with super tries from Bowe and O'Driscoll.
Zinzan was over with a TV crowd doing some punditry and ended up in Slattery's Pub. I was on security at the front door and was asked to intervene as a situation was getting out of hand.
I won't go into the details as we all appreciate that alcohol plays a major part and I've no ill feeling towards this All Black hero. However, I did not recognize him as I approached. In fact, all I could see was a code "red" situation. Code "red" is when a decision must be made or there will be blood splattered everywhere. Let's just say that the only way to get the bull out of the china shop was to show him a red rag by "starting on him" myself.
I arrived at the foot of the situation and tapped the impressively sized and good looking man on the back of the elbow. He didn't respond, so I then placed my hands on the side of his tri-cep. At this point he turned to me in fury, shouting obscenities and telling me not to touch him again or he would "$%^&* me". I was still recovering from the realization that his arms were as big as my thighs and rock-hard. I knew that he had lost it - it was a code "red" - I had no option but to antagonize him. So I touched him again, this time asking him to step outside. He locked eyes on me and I stepped backward towards the front door. My plan was working but his friend, a gentleman about 6ft 8" held him back as much as he could. His friend meant well but I needed him outside. No one man could hold Zinzan back and we ended up outside, head to chest.
Ok - so now I've achieved my 1st objective. I have limited the potential damage to just one funeral. His 6ft 8" wing-man - I think he had played for Harlequins as a 2nd rower, now played his part in bending down to whisper restraint in the ear of this raging bull. It wasn't working. ZinZan got angrier and angrier. He repeatedly told me not to touch him or he would "$%^&* me". I still had no idea who he was. All I knew was that he was huge and my adrenaline was off the charts. I took a deep breath and made my play.
As a crowd of onlookers gathered and he reached boiling-point, I moved to touch his arm while at the same time asking him in a very loud voice "do you mean, touch your arm like this?". The exaggerated movement was slow and made to look like it was a question - it was not aggressive in any way. I was playing to the cameras. He now blew his top, and with a crowd of spectators expecting entertainment, he was about to unleash Maori hell on me. But before he did, I stood back and calmly advised him that while he was perfectly entitled to crush my "K^&^ir head", it was really not worth it. I pointed to the 3 cameras looking straight at us and the 30 or so spectators. "I may be dead tomorrow but you will be in a worse place". As he pondered this, I then re-iterated his size "$%^&* me? but you are so big, so huge... and I am so small, so tiny" and at the same time made myself small by bending my knees. I was now head to abs.
The raging bull turned to the Spar, he must have become hungry.
It was only after the incident that a good friend Christian Kinnear filled me in on who exactly I had dealt with. A legendary All Black number eight who scores drop goals in World Cup semi-finals - had he played in 2007 they would have beaten France!
That night CCTV saved my life or at least a few nights in St. Vincent's. It taught us a lesson. The next week we decided to add 3 months recording storage to the camera system. We added 60% more cameras and pointed them to every part of the pub. We changed our thinking from protection to prevention.
Since then the cameras have lead to many brilliant successes.
- Finding lost phones (9 mobile phones recovered with cameras)
- Catching pick pockets (10 individuals caught and dealt with)
- Recording and sharing many wonderful moments (The Holohan goal v Sweden)
- Giving a couple a clip of their celebration of a 6 nations win (priceless)
- Protecting staff and customers from those with mal-intent
- Protecting from fraud and insurance claims
- Ensuring all staff behave as if they are being watched.
- Helping the Gardai with investigation of local incidents
This blog is aimed at illustrating the many uses and benefits of CCTV. Whatever the investment you make - it will pay for itself. Don't skimp on it, go the extra mile and cover all the bases and use a good company to maintain it. Your staff and customers will thank you for it.