Preparing for your Crowd Control Shift

crowd control shift

Preparing for your Crowd Control Shift

Preparation time is never wasted time” – Anonymous

How to be a professional

You’ve landed yourself a Crowd Control job, maybe you are working in a nightclub, maybe at the local RSL, no matter where you are working you need to be arriving prepared for your shift.

So what is preparation, and what does it mean in the context of working Crowd Control?

For me it is about professionalism, I need to make sure that when I arrive at work I am instantly seen as a professional guard who is worthy of more shifts at this venue/with this company.

The first step to being a professional is looking the part, ironed work shirt, shined shoes, clean pants, good body, oral and respiratory hygiene. The second is setting yourself up for the shift effectively with proper equipment and/or suitable clothing. I will go through each step below.

Work Shirt

It needs to be ironed, it takes two minutes and is not your mums job. While I do not expect you to iron your underwear, I do expect that when you turn up for a shift your work shirt looks tidy and not pulled out of a corner of your room. Hanging it up in your shower to steam is not going to cut it and it looks highly unprofessional to turn up to work with a crinkled shirt.

I also suggest you wear an undershirt that wicks moister (Under Armour is a good brand for this) as this will keep you from getting sweat stains on your shirt.

How to iron a shirt

Work Shoes

Leather shoes are a must for professionalism, but kind of suck when it comes to grip. Personally I have found the brand Hush Puppies to have a solid grip while still being a professional shoe.

Let’s talk about cleaning them and shining them. Once again this is something that is your job and you should know how to do. While the next video is a little over the top in presentation it does show you how to do it correctly.

As a heads up, do this before you shower for work as sometimes you get the polish on yourself, you don’t need to wear war paint at work.

While on the topic of shoes it is important to note that your feet are what will make a shift unbearable. Invest in yourself and go to a podiatrist for some custom fitted orthotics that you can slip from one shoe to another. Anything you buy off the shelf is not going to be as effective and not made for your foot, something custom will mean that your body is aligned correctly.

Quoting my podiatrist “it is not normal if you finish your shift with a sore back and feet”.


I still don’t understand why guards turn up to work with bad hygiene; it is quite simply one of the easiest things to fix. I am not going to include a video of how to brush your teeth and shower correctly, just remember that if you smell ‘off’ no one will want to be near you or talk to you and that is a large part of working in Crowd Control. Do not forget to wear deodorant, but don’t wear something that can be smelt from a kilometre away, subtlety is what we are aiming for here.


So as a preface for this everyone is an individual and what I use may not suit you, but I am going to show what I take to work and why.
So what I take to Crowd Control work is as follows:

  • Notebook and Pen
  • Communications Equipment (Company Provided for the radios used at work)
  • Hearing Protection (Surefire EP4)
  • Torch
  • First Aid
  • Listerine PocketPacks

So you should have learnt why a notebook is so important at work during your original security course, but if you didn’t here is a summary: it covers your ass if anything goes wrong.

When it comes to having a pen any will do, so long as you don’t lose it. I am not a fan of “tactical” pens as they can come across as a weapon and I don’t need to have that argument.

Communications equipment such as your headset should be something you get familiar with before your first shift. Try it on at home and get used to talking into it before your first shift. How you route your cables is completely up to you but you should be able to reach your PTT and Mic with both hands in case one is being used when you need to make a call.

I prefer to run my comms onto an undershirt as it looks more professional and the wires are not exposed as a snag hazard:


Hearing Protection

Once your hearing is gone it is gone. Tinnitus is no joke and it sucks. If you are working in a loud environment you need to have some PPE. While your security company is required to supply you with hearing protection in a loud working environment it is always better to have your own.

I have always suggested Surefire EP4s as they are fantastic for any loud workplaces and they can interface with your comms. Example below:

surefire ep4 2 surefire ep4

Having some form of torch to be able to look around is always a good idea. You don’t need a torch that melts someone’s retinas and face off, I just need to be able to see in some slightly darker places.

Add an O-ring to the pocket clip so that you can move it out of the way easily and you are set.


First aid is something you should carry in any job, what you carry is up to you and your training but think about the injuries that might be sustained and set yourself up to fix those issues. Last but not least is the Listerine PocketPacks.


We talked earlier about hygiene, this is specific to oral and respiratory. Chewing gum on shift is not the most professional look but having bad breath is worse. These little suckers are fantastic for looking professional as well as having good breath. They are a little strong the first time you use them, so try them before your first shift, but they come in a small packet that is easy to keep in a coin pocket of you slacks.


The next step to all this is to set a routine that you follow religiously before going to a shift. Mine is as follows:

  1. Shine Shoes
  2. Shower
  3. Shave / Brush teeth
  4. Iron clothing
  5. Check equipment is in working and serviceable order
    1. Check wires on comms equipment
    2. Check battery in torch
    3. Check condition of resources in first aid kit
  6. Get dressed
    1. Set up comms before work shirt is put on
  7. Grab work bag that contains all sundry equipment
    1. Notebook and pen
    2. Spare batteries
    3. Spare First Aid equipment (e.g. Nitrile Gloves)
    4. Crowd Control Identity Tag
    5. Security Licence (if not in wallet)

What this does for me is set my headspace to that of work. When I get home from work I have a similar process that I use to get out of “work mode”. This helps with making a clear distinction between work and home and helps separate the two.

I don’t bring work problems home and I don’t bring home problems to work.


This can all be summarised by a message I sent to a friend just before his first shift a week ago:

Dress well. Pick up rubbish around the site. Iron shirt, wear deodorant

While I haven’t covered it in the above sections, if you are taking pride in your appearance but not in the venue’s that you are working for then you aren’t being as professional as possible. Pick up rubbish at the venue as it creates a cleaner environment that people will respect and is a direct reflection on you.

james hickeyJames Hickey
Security Trainer and Assessor / Firearms Instructor

James has been actively involved in the security industry for the majority of his adult life. He enjoys passing on what he has learned and making sure that all new security workers are adequately prepared for the industry that he loves.

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