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Interview: Albert Kohen

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Founding Partner,

A Plus Security and Consulting

How did you get into your line of work?
“It’s the family business. As a kid I knew what a bulletproof vest was. I started working in the music industry with Rock’n Coke in 2005. After that we worked at a lot of festivals and huge solo concerts like U2 and Rihanna.”

At what point do you step in?
“There are three important phases: before the event, the event itself, and getting people out of the venue. You have to analyze the risks and emergency response plans very well. Our priority is people’s safety; any property and possessions are secondary. Simply having safety certificates isn’t enough. Our requests can be costly, but you can’t put a price on human life.”

How did the Bataclan theater attack in Paris affect your business?
“People started to pay a lot more attention to safety, and they’re a lot more ready to cooperate now. We’re also a lot more focused on profiling because, unfortunately, terrorism today looks different than it used to: we no longer see abandoned vehicles or strangely dressed people who behave awkwardly. You really have to be a master at judging character.”

How are your employees dealing with the added pressure?
“What we want is for our security personnel to earn a decent wage so they can devote themselves to their work. Even the smallest event draws 5,000 people, so you’re looking for suspects in a crowd of that size. That’s why it’s important for our employees to be clear-minded.”

What’s changed in the industry since you started?
“Lately we’ve been using dogs a lot more. Technology has also advanced a great deal, with scanners, motion-activated cameras and zoom features. CCTV is much more important than it used to be in terms of monitoring everything that’s going on.”

Are you able to enjoy concerts?
“Unfortunately, no. I’m a Bon Jovi fan, and even though I went to his concert here as an audience member, my eyes were constantly scanning the crowd. You could call it an extreme case of occupational deformation.”

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