Category Archives: Trauma

Armed Gang subject victims to terror…

Armed Robbery…an extremely traumatic event. Recent events in South Auckland have highlighted that aggravated robbery is occuring out there and in this case indicates that once offenders become comfortable in what they are doing they will continue to do so until the law intervenes and they are apprehended.

This is of grave concern…the brazen activities of these offenders and the blatent disregard they have for their victims is a serious situation…it is my opinion that the actions of this gang will continue to escalate to the extent that someone will be seriously injured if not killed if they are not stopped as soon as possible.

Aggravated robbery can occur at any time and for any organisation but more for those that deal with cash, drugs, alcohol or any other attractive products. Traditionally we see that organisations that are open outside of normal hours or who may not have alot of staff onsite more often than not become targets…recent events have indicated that this gang are a bit different.

There are a few things that need to be considered to reduce the risk of this happening.

Five key times of the day or night and certain events during a traditional working day are by default the areas and events that expose you to risk.

1.Opening Time

2.Closing Time

3.Cash Handling

4.Work Environment

5.Staff Behaviours

If the five events and times as mentioned above are not well managed you are increasing the chances that you may become a victim.

Things to consider to reduce risk.

Opening Time

– Before approaching your building take the time to
stop and look for suspicious behaviours and events.
– Keep doors and windows closed until open for
– Look for anything unusual once inside.
– Look for signs of forced entry
– Try and unlock with more than one of you
– Make sure cameras are working properly

Closing Time

– Ensure all customers are out then lock the door
– Do not allow after hours customers
– Make sure alarms are set before leaving the site
– Try and leave with someone else
– Try and get your vehicle close to the exit
– Have keys ready
– Check your vehicle before getting in
– Arrange for staff escorts if there is a perceived risk
– Talk on a cell phone
– If you see anything suspicious do not leave
– If you are being followed do not go home

Cash Handling

– Keep large amounts of cash out of view
– Maintain regular drops into safes
– Do not exceed limits
– Stick to policy and procedure
– Do not leave cash lying around
– Secure safe keys
– Do not carry cash off site
– Remove cash using a recognised security provider
– Cash up behind a locked door, out of public view with
more than one of you.
– Do not advertise your profits – need to know basis

Work Environment

– Clean windows
– Open uncluttered environment
– See out See in mentality
– Access Control Systems
– Locks on back doors and windows
– Security signage on windows and doors
– Cameras
– Deter, Deny, Detect and Delay
– Repair broken windows
– Remove tagging quickly
– Weapons free zones
– Anti jump counters
– Alarms (intruder and duress)
– Good effective lighting
– Make your premise look like a hard target
– Vegetation around entries and exits
– Good control over customers

Staff Behaviours

– Identify all customers
– Provide good customer service
– Undertake training with TLC
– Staff vetting before employment
– Communicate with each other
– Adhere to policy and procedure
– Remain vigilant and alert
– Challenge suspicious behaviours
– Secure sensitive information
– Secure items of uniform and identification
– Be aware of what is said in social settings

A good guideline that I always try and apply no matter where I am is:

Caution is not Cowardice

We are all responsible for our own safety and security. Please everyone do as much as you can to ensure that you, your staff and your customers are as safe as they can be. It needs to be said though that 100% protection is impossible. If it is impossible it is not to say that it shouldnt be our goal…we are all responsible to try and achieve this as best as we can.

I am more than happy to discuss further with you if you wish as to what can possbily be done to try and prevent this from happening to you or in the event that it does happen what can be achieved through good effective training to enhance your safety and that of others during an aggaravated robbery.

Please feel free to make contact if you wish.

I look forward to hearing from you.



Its a rough world out there…….

Two stabbings in as many days in good old New Zealand. A timely reminder that it is a tough world out there. A sad indicator of what our society has become when our youngsters are being stabbed to death on a regular basis. I cant help but wonder if the victims of these attacks saw the warning signs and chose to ignore them or they were ignorant to them.

We only need to think why the Police have been issued with stab proof vests in recent years…clearly an indicator that things have changed…what is also disturbing is that the Police recovered a number of weapons from the scene of the recent stabbing in Pakuranga…clear evidence that our youth are carrying and obviously have the intent to use.

I really encourage that if you are confronted on the street that the safest option is to escape and get out of not under estimate what is out there and who is prepared to take a life to prove a point…be careful and stay safe. My sincere condolances to all families affected by this latest tragedy.

Robbery – a crime of control

It is of concern the number of aggravated robberies that have occured of late particularly in the Rodney District. Being based in Rodney it is certainly bringing it close to home that robbery is a crime that can occur anywhere, anytime and can happen to anybody.

As I write this blog I have just been advised that a client of mine has just suffered the same and a security guard I trained last year who happened to be working onsite at the time was dumped on the ground with a pistol pointed at him. Fortunately in this instance no one was hurt…possibly due to the training they have received in terms of how to deal with a robbery should it occur.

Events such as this highlight that robberies are extremly dangerous, traumatic and unpredictable events that without the right training can lead to situations where death or serious injury can and may occur.

In order to enhance your safety during a robbery it is important to understand the objectives that the offender(s) has…the first objective for them is they want control…in order for you to remain safe let them have control, the second objective is cash or product…what they are there for…let them have it…and the third and final objective for them is they want to escape…let them escape.

If the intent of the offender is just robbery, by facilitating these objectives for the offender you are greatly increasing your chances of remaining safe during an aggravated robbery.

How you achieve this is taught on the TLC Armed Robbery Safety programme. An enjoyble and interactive training programme that will teach you actions, skills and behaviours to enhance your safety and that of others during an aggravated robbery. We also explore how your body will respond and precautions you can put in place to reduce the risk of robbery occuring from the onset.

Please feel free to make contact to discuss further if you feel you may be at risk of an aggravated robbery occuring.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards


Disaster Preparedness – Who’s Ready?

I have been watching closely the events unfolding in Christchurch as not only Canterbury but the whole of New Zealand and a large proportion of the international community respond and rise to the call to assist the people of Christchurch.

A terrible terrible event that will impact all of New Zealand for a long time to come. The devastation, death and trauma that Christchurch people have been subjected to is to suggest as John Key said today ‘our darkest day’.

Without a doubt the CBD area of Christchurch has bourne the brunt with high rise buildings collapsing which has resulted in the loss of life. I commend our urban rescue teams, our Police, our medical professionals, our Civil Defence experts, our defence force personnel and all of the other organisations and volunteers who have responded to assist…in some cases when the fate of their own loved ones is unknown. An incredible sense of duty and commitment to asisting those in their time of need.

It also needs to be mentioned those in the outlying areas of Christchurch. We have all seen the damage to infrastructure and buildings, the flooding and the general breakdown of all services to these areas. People need help.

What this has highlighted after an event such as we have seen is that emergency services will be stretched. Resources will be scarce and it will take time for responders and assistance to reach you. I think the national and international response to this event has been exceptional and all involved with the organisation of it need to be acknowledged…however…what it has also highlighted is that some people are clearly ill prepared to deal with an event such as this.

It has been some 30 or so hours since the quake struck and the asisstance to the outer lying areas has been slow but for good reason…the priority clearly at this point has to be focusing on getting those trapped and alive out.

Civil Defence advises that people need to be prepared to survive for three days after an event unassisted…this will clearly be the case in Christchurch. Already we see people without water and food and starting to criticise authorities for not getting help to them. I wonder if these people considered preparing themselves for a disaster and ensuring they had an emergency kit, water for three days, food for three days…the list goes on.

My heart goes out to all…but I dont think the authorities deserve the criticism they are receiving under these trying conditions. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that we are prepared for a disaster. I am sure for alot of people this will be a lesson that this event will drive home and moving forward hopefully we will see more people taking responsibility for their own safety and ensuring they are better prepared to deal with the aftermath of a disaster.

Help will get to you but it will take time…that is reality.

Be strong Christchurch…you will all get through this.

Safety, Security, Care and Protection within a Dictatorship

It has been a while since I have blogged, certainly not because I have nothing to blog about but it is fair to say that the last month or so has been an extremely busy time on both the work and home fronts for a number of reasons.

It has also taken me some time to ponder this blog and its contents as some people who have never experienced something like this may struggle to understand…you may even think that it has nothing to do with safety and security…please continue reading as the contents of this blog may offer some of you insight into a situation that is being repeated across the country to a large proportion of families.

Before getting into the details I would like you to follow the link to a blog that was posted by a very good friend of mine. Philip Patston is a well known and respected social entrepreneur, comedian, public speaker, motivator and mentor who manages his own successful business…he is also disabled.

Some of you will be aware that I too am familiar with the disabled community. My son Keegan was born at 26 weeks gestation which resulted in him being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 9 months and subsequent discoveries of epilepsy, autism and learning delays to name but a few. With respect to this Keegan has complex needs and requirements most of which are met by my wife Franky and I who have been providing care for Keegan 24/7 for the last 14.5 years without a break.

Early on in Keegan’s life we engaged the services of contracted providers funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to assist with Keegan’s supports in the home. This system over time clearly became unsustainable due to untrained staff and incompetence on several fronts which saw Franky having to step in to recruit, train and oversee staff on their behalf. As you will appreciated this regime created more stress and concerns for Keegan’s care and protection than doing it our self.

We then requested a funding package to be provided which we had direct control over (MoH provide funding direct to us to employ our own staff to assist with meeting Keegan’s complex needs). This funding is integral to enable us to keep Keegan in his home and to be cared for as best as he can…who better than the parents to do this. This system of funding has proven to be the best system in ensuring Keegan’s needs are met…and as equally important providing Franky and I with the assurance that Keegan’s welfare, safety, care and protection is unfaltering. This system for the last six years has proven itself to be the most cost effective way of providing a quality of life for Keegan that has been outstanding that clearly the likes of contracted providers and the MoH cannot do. This funding has been provided to Keegan for the last six years…until now.

The dictatorship as Philip referred to in his blog in my opinion is our Ministry of Health. The organisation that is responsible for the care and protection for those who are most vulnerable in our society fits the ‘dictatorship’ title perfectly.

Why do I say this?

In all its wisdom the MoH have elected to stop our current funding arrangement with little notice and put us back under the sub-standard service of contracted providers.

As quoted by Philip in his blog the traits of dictatorship are:

The dictator doesn’t listen: In this case the inattentive dictator is the “system” and the people who work (in) it – the Ministry of Health (we’ve said we’re not sick), Ministry of Education (we’ve said we’re not special), Work and Income (we’ve said we’re not invalids), Needs Assessment (we’ve said we know what we need). I won’t go on, it’s boring. People who experience disability continue to go unheard in our plea for coherent language, appropriate policy and competent practice.

Subjects are scared to talk: In my experience, very few disabled people have the confidence to speak openly if they feel they are not getting their needs met or having their rights infringed. Sure there are some who are vocal and agitate for improvement. But the overwhelming majority of people and families impacted by disability are grateful for the little support they have to survive, are afraid to lose what they have and, therefore, remain silent.

Subjects exhibit traits such as pessimism, cynicism, lack of self-confidence & self-management: Again, there are exceptions to the rule, but this element falls into two categories. Pessimistic, cynical activists and your everyday, average disabled person who lacks confidence and competence to do anything much more than claim a benefit and sit on a couch in their home, a home, or a day facility.

There is painfully slow innovation: You only have to compare computers and wheelchairs to witness the lack of innovation in solutions to mobility and assistive technology. If the same or equivalent levels of investment had gone into researching innovations in assistive devices as have gone into advancing personal computers to the iteration of the iPad, I’d be wearing my wheelchair as an accessory today, not lugging it into my car with a winch.

Subjects hesitate to speak up and stand up for themselves; if they do, they are very polite: Linked to fear of talking above, sadly in my experience a lot if not most people impacted by disability are terrified to speak out, complain and ask for more, for fear of neglect, victimisation and even abuse. The disabled community is unique in that we rely on the “system” to fund support for the basic necessities of life – shelter, food, cleanliness. People have so much to lose that they remain courteous to their detriment in order to avoid the risk of punitive consequences or withdrawals of support.

What has this got to do with safety and security I hear you ask?

Safety and Security for a large number of us is something that we tend to take for granted. When we are babies not only do we need safety and security but we also require care and protection. As we mature the need for care and protection diminishes but not so the need for safety and security. As we enter our more mature years we again require more care and protection as the toll of life catches up with us and we need assistance.

But what about those within our communities who require not only safety and security, but a high level of care and protection for their entire lives? Those people with permanent impairments require lifelong assistance. Imagine you can’t get out of bed by yourself, imagine you need assistance to get dressed, imagine you require assistance to have a shower and go to the toilet, imagine you need assistance to eat, imagine you require assistance to undertake everything that you wish to do on any given day. The reality is that Keegan doesn’t need to imagine this he lives it every day.

What if you needed this level of assistance? I am confident that if any of us were in this situation you would want the right type of people providing you with this assistance. Surely you would want people who have a genuine concern for your welfare…who better than your parents and those who have been recruited, vetted, trained and supervised by those that care for you more than anything in this world.

As a security consultant I provide training, skills and knowledge designed to keep people safe…this is my job, my passion and it is what I choose to do…but what if due to a dictatorship I am no longer in a position to guarantee the safety, security, care and protection of my own son. Due to the recent actions of MoH this is the frustrating situation I now find myself in…Keegans safety, security, care and protection is now greatly compromised…a situation I find totally unacceptable…but due to the MoH dictatorship I have no choice…I have no voice…I’m not being listened to…and I now have diminished control over who comes into my home to provide cares for my son.

I have always suggested to my clients in terms of their safety that there are always choices…we make choices that either put us at risk, or we make choices that keep us safe…in this case as with many other disabled people…given the dictatorship mindset and attitude of the organisation that we expect to look after us, our ability to choose has been taken away. More importantly Keegan’s ability to choose has been taken away.

I can now choose to accept this…or I can choose not to…I choose NOT TO. I will not stand back and allow a system full of bureaucrats who are so far removed from reality dictate to my family and I that they know what they are doing and they know what is best for us.

Experience tells me that the path they are taking is one that is going to get people hurt, it is a path that takes away people’s dignity, it takes away people’s right to choose and self-determination, it takes away the basic fundamentals of everyone’s right to safety, security, care and protection. As a father of a child who is considered to be society’s most vulnerable I find it appalling.

As a security consultant I find it totally unacceptable that a Government Department in a country such as New Zealand can even think about treating people like this….

I am at a loss.

I welcome your thoughts

Concern that disabled people could suffer more in a disaster


Disabled people, elderly people – even children – are needlessly vulnerable and could suffer unnecessarily in a disaster because they are not ready to act in an emergency. Civil Defence may not be ready to support them, says Diversityworks Trust, which will host a workshop to help people plan to survive in the event of a disaster.

Overseas reports show that disabled people are left behind in emergency planning and fare badly in situations like the recent Christchurch and Haiti earthquakes. Evidence also shows over 70 per cent of the casualties of Hurricane Katrina were older or disabled. Many people with disabilities in New Orleans were evacuated without their medicine, medical equipment, wheelchairs and service animals.

“Coping in a disaster like the recent Christchurch earthquake is hard for anyone,” says Trust founder and Director Philip Patston, “but I’ve talked to people who were unable get out of bed on their own and were unable to quickly leave the house. Imagine being a single parent with infants? What would you do? Waiting for emergency services to find you could mean waiting to die.”

“We can never make anyone feel 100% safe about these situations,” says Patston. “But we do believe that by making people more aware of what they can do and helping them to establish networks of support and communication, they can feel more ready to respond in emergency situations.”

The workshop will be run by security and safety consultant Tony Lewis of TLC Consulting. “The average person has the ability to plan and procure items that they will need to survive more easily than someone who needs assistance, or who needs to assist others,” says Lewis.

“People in such situations generally rely on some form of support network to assist with their day to day requirements. To ensure the safety and wellbeing during and after a disaster it is integral that every person involved as part of the support network is made aware of their requirements and is involved from the onset with the planning process.”

The workshop will assist those who experience disability, are elderly or who have independent responsibility for young children to think about the type of disasters that could affect them and their family; to think about the type of hazards they face in their home; to develop a response plan; to prepare equipment, food and water; to consider the establishment of a support network; and to take actions to reduce risk.

Diversityworks Trust promotes diversity through creativity and education by running projects and social networks that promote confidence and potential. Established in 2005 by comedian and social entrepreneur Philip Patston, Diversityworks Trust facilitates a peer support network committed to shared support and learning in a social environment between people who experience both similar and different circumstances.

To register for the free workshop email before Friday 24 September

“Diversity Disaster Response” workshop
Garden Room, Grey Lynn Community Centre
Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Saturday 25 September 10.30am to 12.30pm.


For more information

Philip Patston | Director


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