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Thorpe Park Security

I went to Thorpe Park recently with a friend and two of my kids. Nice day out – with all the usual things you’d expect from a trip to a theme park – expensive, long queues, screaming kids, and any excuse taken to get a little more money from you… We expect that – so nobody is surprised or disappointed by these things….

However, there was one thing I took exception to. On entering the park there is quite heavy security – understandable in this day and age – where guests are selected for additional checks and have to go through a metal detector.

What struck me about this was two things – firstly a couple of the security staff really seemed to fancy themselves as “Terminator” characters…  Oh you silly little boys!

A word from the wise – you may be security, but working in the leisure industry you should be treating the park visitors and guests far better than you do. A smile goes a long way – whatever the job you do in that environment! As well as creating the right impression it can actually help you perform your job. I worked as a nightclub bouncer for a number of years and learned very quickly that greeting customers with a smile often made it much easier to deal with problems that may happen later in the evening – if the security staff are friendly, rather than intimidating on the way in. In many cases when having to put people out they remembered that and were much less likely to cause problems if it was necessary to ask them to leave later in the evening. The job isn’t always brute force – and done properly a bit of basic psychology works far better…

Now, secondly, this is what I really felt strongly about – looking at the queue (yes, of course there was a queue – its a theme park!) of people waiting to run through the metal detectors and additional checks – it seemed very obvious that the selection process depended largely on race. It could have just been at that instant, but somehow I doubt it – and I also wonder if its park policy. I would say that 80% of the people in line were either Asian or black – it just felt wrong… It wasn’t just me that thought this – seconds after thinking this, the friend I was with voiced the same opinion before I said anything to her…

I’ve sent an email raising my concerns – and I’ll be interested to see what, if any, response says.

99 Responses to Thorpe Park Security

  • Alan says:

    To be fair to Thorpe Park I did get a reply the next day which quite impressed me. Though I did feel very much it was a bog standard answer cut and pasted from the “dealing with complaints” manual….

    Here’s the email exchange.

    Me… (26.08.09)

    I visited the park yesterday with a friend and my two children.

    Firstly, let me say that I hope the person who got hurt on your ‘No Way Out’ ride whilst we were waiting is okay.

    I have to say, although we had a pleasant day at the park my first impressions were not good. I appreciate that security is an issue for you, and understand the screening on entry. However I feel I must comment that on entering the park (although we were not screened) I was very disturbed to see your security staff’s selection process, and their behaviour…

    Firstly a couple of them seemed to be doing their level best to be intimidating… Not a good impression for a family day out! It is possible to provide security whilst also adding to the experience.

    Secondly, and most importantly I was very disturbed to see a highly disproportionate number of black and Asian people being selected for additional security checks – whilst many white young people sailed
    through.

    Perhaps it was just the moment I walked in this was the case – but somehow I imagine what I saw is fairly typical. I think you need to perhaps examine this issue before you fall foul of the law.

    I will point out that I am neither black or Asian.

    Thorpe Park…. (27.08.09)

    Thank you very much for taking the time to email me after your visit to Thorpe Park. All feedback is very valuable to us and the comments you expressed were extremely valid in helping us to decide where we need to place our main focus.

    I was most disappointed to learn of the difficulties you experienced when you came and would like to offer my sincere apologies that your visit should have been marred in this way. Giving all our guests a fun and thrilling day is extremely important to everyone here but unfortunately, its a sign of the times that we have been forced into the regretful position of having to conduct security searches as people enter the Park. As much as we’d love this to apply to every single guest coming in, as we can have up to 6000 people coming through in an hour this would be an almost impossible task without causing considerable delays as people enter.

    We therefore select people entirely at random to ensure we have a good mix of age, ethnic group and gender. That said, our searches should always be conducted in a professional and courteous manner and I’m really sorry if this wasn’t the case on the day of your visit. Every one of our employees starts with a very full and comprehensive staff induction training programme and many will also receive specialist training such as that undertaken by all our security team members. Staff training then continues throughout any individual’s career with us, ranging from “bite-size” quick fire sessions to the more intense residential courses. I was therefore very shocked when I read your email, as such comments are very rare indeed. Please be assured that this matter has been passed to our security manager and is receiving his full attention.

    We take great pride in our attraction and as we failed to delight you on this occasion, and to thank you for your feedback, I would like to send you a gesture of goodwill but, sadly, due to the level of fraud we experience, I would be very grateful if you could first please email proof of your visit (eg your tickets or any receipts) or forward the same to me at the address below.

    Once again, thank you for your feedback and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Me… (27.08.09)

    Thank you for the prompt reply. Can I just point out that I personally did not suffer an inconvenience. I was pointing out an observation of the people who did… It did seem wrong somehow. As I said – it could just have been a momentary thing – but I didn’t get that impression at the time.

    I’m sure you’re training is both professional and thorough – and I fully appreciate that extra security measures are necessary. But it didn’t seem to be working at this time… Can I respectfully suggest the Parks management do a little bit of mystery shopper observation themselves to ensure this is genuinely being treated as random…?

    Also – in respect of your security staff, I really did get the impression that a number of them were trying to ‘look tough’ for want of a better description. They need to be taught to lighten up a bit.

    A smile goes a long way – whatever the job you do in that environment! As well as creating the right impression it can actually help you perform your job. I worked as a nightclub bouncer for a number of years and learned very quickly that greeting customers with a smile often made it much easier to deal with problems that may happen later in the evening –
    if the security staff are friendly, rather than intimidating on the way in, in many cases when having to put people out they remembered that and were much less likely to cause problems if it was necessary to ask them to leave later in the evening. The job isn’t always brute force and looking the part – and done properly a bit of basic psychology works far better…

    I have attached 3 of the four tickets purchased (with a half price
    voucher) to demonstrate I am not a crank. I am neither seeking or asking for gestures, free tickets or whatever – I live in Spain, and my kids live in the midlands so any comp tickets wouldn’t be much use to me after tomorrow anyway! 🙂

    Thanks you again for the prompt reply…

  • Alan says:

    I didn’t get a reply to my second mail – which sort of leads me to believe that they consider their “specialist training” is suffice and they have no intention of looking at my concerns… (perhaps the fact that I was leaving the country a few days later also made my complaint easy to dismiss)

    Take my word for it – there was something seriously wrong. So much so that the friend I was with looked at me after we passed through the entrance and said “Did you see that”? For two of us to notice so easily is far more than a coincidence…

  • paul read says:

    Hello,

    Apologies for not being more aware of your blog content or personal affairs as i have just googled ‘Thorpe park security searches’ and came up with your blog. I recently visited Thorpe park with my girlfriend and really did not expect such security measures as random searches. However as you have said i do appreciate that with the current security climate busy public areas need to be seen to take measures to reduce ‘terrorism’. I also found that the staff were rude and giving the impression of abit of a power trip. Caroline and i were selected for random screening, fair enough but i noticed that there were only male security staff present so politely i told them that they were not allowed to frisk Caroline without a female present to perform the frisk. This seemed to highten their resolve, they agreed that this indeed was the case but treated me with further disrespect.

    Obviously we were both cleared and both left with the feeling that what should have been a fun exciting day out was tainted by unnecessary rudeness and intrusion. What annoyed me the most is, okay these security checks need to be made but what good are security checks if they are not thorough; if i was inclined to carry weapons or drugs into Thorpe park then surely i could have given them to Caroline (who could not be frisked) to conceal about her person or if it is drugs that are the issue then i could have hidden them in my shoe. Surely anyone wishing to commit such crimes could easily circumvent these searches, so why bother at all. Now correct me if i am wrong but i do remember reading a sign saying that they are conducting, ‘random and selective searches’. Are they allowed to be selective? If so what is their selection criteria? Age, race, clothing.. Smacks to me of racial and aesthetic stereotyping. Anyway i hope you and your children still managed to enjoy the day out. I should like to point out that Caroline and I are both white.

    Paul (aged 25)
    Caroline (aged 19)

  • Alan says:

    Paul – thanks for the comment. Not just me then.

    As I said, we didn’t get stopped – I’m mid 40s, my friend female mid 30s, and my kids mid-teens. Therefore, we would have been considered low risk. To me their selection was obvious, and their manner intimidating and deserved a complaint, and comment here…

    Good for you sticking to your guns on the point of frisking Caroline – you were TOTALLY right to do so. By way of example – look at airports in recent years – male and female staff at all times… If they want to search a female they have to summon a female to conduct the search! Though I can’t say I’m shocked having seen the posture and manner of the security staff there that they were then rude to you following this.

    Interesting point you made about the signs saying “random and selective searches”. If you are correct this conflicts with the phrase in the email I received from Thorpe Park which claims their criteria is “entirely at random”.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself Paul – well done mate!

  • Alan says:

    Been thinking about this a couple of days, and have decided that I should draw the attention of Thorpe park to Paul’s comment above. So here’s the email I have sent…

    Me… 15.09.09

    Feeling pretty much dismissed by what I read to be the usual corporate fluff (apologies, passed on to the manager concerned etc.) with no follow up. I felt compelled to relay my story on my blog at http://www.alangandy.com/thorpe-park-security/

    It would seem to me that from a comment I received from a youg man called Paul on there that I am not alone in my concerns about your security staff. I thought you may be interested.

  • Alan says:

    Thorpe Park… 15.09.09 (same afternoon)

    I have been passed your details regarding you comments relating to our security searches you witnessed when visiting the Park in late August. Firstly please accept my apologies for the delay in my own response following the Park’s reply to your original email which is a combination of my own annual leave in early September and ongoing IT problems on site – I appreciate that neither of these are your concerns which is why I hope to now provide you with a more detailed and comprehensive answer for your concerns.

    As you rightly point out, security is clearly a high priority for us here at Thorpe Park. Our daily search operation within the turnstile hall is representative of the proactive approach to ensure that that all our guests have a safe and enjoyable day out. In terms of first impressions we believe that placing the safety and security of our guests as our number one priority sends an important message to families such as yours that are looking for a thrilling and fun day at our attraction but also those within our clientele that may observe our security presence and as a result curtail their behaviour accordingly whilst on the premises. As a result I would say we receive as many if not more comments from families passing through that are comforted and in favour of our thorough and concerted effort to ensure Park safety than those who are equally entitled to object or question if it is excessive.

    I have been within my role here at Thorpe Park for almost two and a half years and within that time have worked extremely closely alongside representatives from Surrey Police to ensure that our approach is consistent, proportionate and professional. However, having worked within the customer service and leisure industry for over ten years I am acutely aware that the necessity for a thorough and consistent approach should not negate the presence of the core customer service values I stand by and expect of all within my teams.

    As someone who has worked as doorman I’m sure you’re more than aware of the largely unfair reputation the wdier security industry is tarnished with, therefore I was very disappointed to read that you felt some of the security staff were displaying some of the less desirable characteristics or body language that have been associated with the industry. Like you I learnt very early on in my career in the value of a smile and a friendly welcome which can go a long way in building rapport and can definitely make things easier should problems unfortunately arise later on.

    The final concern I wanted to address was in regard to the selection process for our searches. I can confirm that searches are random and based on the guest traffic entering the Park at any given time and we endeavour to ensure we have a good mix of age, ethnic group and gender. Due to the size of the queue line and the large volume of guests passing through the area it would be impossible to ensure an even distribution across these criteria at all times. With this in mind it is quite conceivable that during the operation the queue line could consist of 95% individuals from a white British background which at that point in time could still be regarded as misrepresentative. We do at times carry out searches on a selective basis, largely as a result of guest behaviour or actions prior to entering the Park for which they would be bought to our attention – these usually consist of alcohol intoxication, queue jumping and drug related issues, all of which I hope you agree we should be looking to prevent prior to guests making their way on the Park.

    To put all of this it into context your journey through the turnstile hall and the search area at most represented a couple of minutes in a 3 hour plus operation and having spent many hours observing the operation I’m confident of our continued and proactive approach in this area.

    Once again apologies for the delay in my response and thanks again for you feedback which I have found very useful and will be cascaded to the security staff at the Park.

    Should I be able to assist you in any other way please do not hesitate to contact me again.

    Me…15.09.09

    Thank you for your prompt reply, very professional, and very corporate. I appreciate your commitment to ‘cascade the concerns to your security staff’. I am very sceptical in that I am unsure this reply would have been forthcoming had I not pointed out to your colleague today that I had voiced my concerns publicly. No reflection on yourself – I feel the wording of your response would suggest to me that the delay in a response may suggest that you were not aware of my complaint until today. I genuinely feel from the timing that your colleague had considered me ‘brushed off’ previously.

    Frankly, if there is not nothing wrong with your system as you suggest, there is definitely something wrong with the perception of your system, Your staffs body language was intimidating, the pseudo Police uniforms do not help – as well as my original concern about your selection process. I am not the only one to notice…

    A quick search revealed a quote from another dissatisfied guest on a forum “My son went on a school trip to Thorpe Park and he was appalled that the “random” searches were mainly done on black and Asian kids.” – http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=297362 – there are others out there as I am sure your PR people will be aware of.

    On a lighter note – perhaps – as there is always some truth in humour – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=heavy&defid=1105574

    This is not a reflection on yourself as leader of the team, your comments, and your apparent appreciation that I might actually know a little about what I am talking about would lead me to the conclusion that no doubt you are a professional. Though I have also come to the conclusion that a number of your staff are not. I still believe after a little bit of research you have a problem at the park that needs addressing.

  • Alan says:

    Readers will notice I have used neither the names or job titles of the people from Thorpe Park who have replied. I have no personal axes to grind, and nothing to gain from this – do you ever get a feeling that “something is rotten in Denmark”?

    In my opinion Thorpe Park has a problem it seriously has to address with more than apologies and a ‘quiet word’.

  • Mark says:

    So its not just me that got treated like crap then? I was there last week and it was exactly like you said it was.

  • Alan says:

    Not really a shock, but I didn’t get a reply to my last email – I doubt they have any intention of acting on these – or the many other complaints – around the Internet, and there seems to be a few!

  • Pingback: Thorpe Park Security - are they animals? | AlanGandy.com

  • kelly says:

    Me and my boyfriend and 2 friends went to Thorpe Park yesterday and me and my boyfriend were picked out 2 do a search, I’m white mid 20s and so is my boyfriend so nothing to extraordinary about us, so we let them continue with the search. Whilst waiting for us (20 minutes of waiting) our friends asked why no-one else was getting picked, they were then rudely told we’re not here all day we’ve finished now. It must of been a long tiring day for them starting at 10:00am and knocking off at 10: 40am!!!!!!
    So all criminals out there just remember don’t go 2 Thorpe park b4 11am!!!! lol.

  • Joe says:

    Hey, me and my mates all work in a tattoo studio and are all therefore heavily tattooed and pierced, all 6 off us got pulled for a random search and i even said to the security man ‘is this because we are tattooed’ to which he replied ‘yes’. i couldn’t believe it, i nearly lost the plot. But i totally undertand where your coming from as they all thought they were the hardest men in the world.
    The thing that wound me up was out of every group one or two people were being pulled but our whole group got pulled.
    Best wishes
    Joe K

  • Alan says:

    Cheers Joe – I guess little has changed since my original comment by the sound of it!

  • Jacob says:

    Visit to Thorpe Park. Wednesday. 23rd June.

    I am 15 and horribly dissatisfied by Thorpe parks securitys.

    I arrived at thorpe park with my school at 10.00 am. Fair enough, Got in no problems. Walked around with a few freinds. And then returned to the main gate to speak to my head and wait for the rest of my class.

    This is when i was filtered into the Security line, Without warning. No choice. Remember i was Just waiting for the rest of my Year.

    It was like being treated is if i was a animal.

    They informed me and my freind who is black. That they are not the police, So they don;t have a right to search you.

    I brought this up straight away with the security officer standing with the consent form, I told him. Don’t give me that. I Do Not give any consent for you to man handle me, He replies if you don’t comply you will be removed from the park.

    I was patted down, Bag searched, Metal detector. Blah Blah Blah.

    Makes me incredibly angry, They are not the police, I have done nothing wrong, And i don’t give permission for them to touch me, I am 15 in most cases that would be called abuse.

    I have emailed a complaint. Will post reply.

    Thanks

  • Alan says:

    Jacob, good for you mate! Stick up for yourself. The chances are that you’ll probably just get the same bullshit answers I got – but don’t let them get away with it. Have you thought about getting your school and your parents to complain too?

  • Jacob says:

    Well. I don’t like to me talked to like that,

    Especially as i have never got in trouble from the police.

    My dad is a solicitor.! And the school probably won’t take it seriously.

    However, I will pursue it myself and see what results i get.

    And thanks for the response Alan.

  • Alan says:

    Jacob,

    Perhaps your dad IS the perfect person to do help you something about this. You should talk to him. Also the school have every reason that they should take this seriously.

    1. In my view you should have had a teacher present. At the very least to advise you on signing the release. Not the teachers fault here – the park should have found one.

    2. Had you refused to sign and they ejected you, they would have been putting a minor at risk. Which may well have had implications on the school’s responsibilities – as outside the park, at least for insurance purposes its my guess that it technically leaves you unsupervised.

    As I said Jacob – good for you for standing up for yourself on this one! Kids in general unfairly get a bat rap these days because of a small minority. It’s quite obvious you’re a good guy and rightly offended at your treatment.

    Do talk to your dad – I’m sure he’ll be on your side…

    Good luck – and do let me know how you get on or if I can help you in any way.

  • Jacob says:

    Hi, Alan

    Received this Thorpe Park.

    Dear Jacob

    Thank you for your email regarding your recent visit to Thorpe Park. We appreciate you taking the time and trouble to share your thoughts as always consider any feedback that helps us to improve the service we provide for our guests.

    Firstly, please allow us to apologise that your day with us did not live up to your expectations. Giving our guests a thrilling and fun experience is high on our agenda, and we do apologise if you feel that we have failed to do so on this occasion.

    With regards to our security searches, all guests are subject to Terms and Conditions and these Terms and Conditions do state that each guest entering the park may be subject to being searched upon request. There are also notices on the main board outside the Park stating this. Guests are entitled to refuse a search but at the same time they would be asked to leave the Park for failing to comply with the Park’s Terms and Conditions. We work very closely with Surrey Police who support our proactive approach to security at the Park, as carrying out searches benefits the safety, security and welfare of all guests.

    That said, our searches should always be conducted in a professional and courteous manner and I’m really sorry if this wasn’t the case on the day of your visit. Every one of our employees starts with a very full and comprehensive staff induction training programme and many will also receive specialist training such as that undertaken by all our security team members. Staff training then continues throughout any individual’s career with us, ranging from “bite-size” quick fire sessions to the more intense residential courses. I apologise if you found the security searches unnecessary, but hope you can understand the reasons for us conducting these.

    Once again thank you for your feedback.

    Seems like a load of shit too me, They obviously don’t get it.!

  • Alan says:

    They either don’t get it – or don’t care.

    That actually looks like a standard letter. I suspect that ‘Thorpe Park Security’ being one of the most popular terms leading people to this site – they have enough complaints to deal with it in this way rather than deal with the complaints on an individual basis.

    Really Jacob, have a chat with your dad – I’m sure he’ll know how to handle it!

  • Jacob says:

    Hi, Alan

    I have talked to my dad. He has said it isn’t right the way i was treated. However, replied straight away to that E-mail and said i don’t agree with what you have said. And you should review the way your security deal with people and if you had of chucked me out it would of been an issue for you and my school.

    However, mentioning that isn’t the biggest thing. I did make clear in future if i am treated like this or anyone else is for that matter. It won’t be a E-mail complaint it will be a written complaint from dad on Headed paper. So that should make them think.!

    If i receive anything else will post for you to read.

    Thank’s,

  • Alan says:

    Good for you Jacob. Absolutely right of you to stand up for yourself!

  • Jacob says:

    Hello. Alan. I received this from my reply. Thank You.

    Dear Jacob

    Thank you for your response regarding our previous correspondence. Giving all our guests a fun and thrilling day is extremely important to everyone here but unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times that we have been forced into the regretful position of having to conduct security searches as people enter the Park. As much as we’d love this to apply to every single guest coming in, as we can have up to 7000 people coming through in an hour this would be an almost impossible task without causing considerable delays as people enter.

    I can assure you that we do not wish to make you feel less valued and are simply trying to explain why we cannot conduct a search on each person entering the park. Through our searches we have prevented thousands of dangerous weapons, drugs and other prohibited items from entering the park and so we feel that in order to keep our guests safe that these types of searches are necessary.

    I apologise that you found our security staff unhelpful and you feel as though they treated you in an unfair manner. I can assure you however that you were not ‘singled out’ and every guest who enters Thorpe Park may be subject to a security search. Our searches are conducted on a purely random basis, and have nothing whatsoever to do with appearance, gender or age. As I mentioned previously, all of our staff receive thorough training during their employment at Thorpe Park and we strive to ensure that every guest receives a high level of customer service.

    Once again, thank you for your feedback regarding this matter.

    Kind regards

  • Alan says:

    Looks like the usual – all they apologize for is ‘your’ feelings and never actually address specifically your concerns – which is what wound me up in the first place last year….

    What’s the betting they have someone pretty much employed full time to deflect complaints about their security department! 🙂

  • Jacob says:

    Haha. Yeah i know. And yes they Probably do have someone assigned to the replying to complaints.

  • Rob Prager says:

    I personally don’t buy what they say about not being physically able to search everybody who enters the park. Having spent a lot of time in Israel (where for obvious reasons security is taken a very seriously) I can confidently say that it is totally untrue that it is impossible to search everybody who enters the park. In Israel, everybody is searched as they enter train stations, bus stations, shopping centres (the list goes on!) If they put more resources into security screening they wouldn’t have to have these absurd “random searches” which we know, and we know that they know are not really random! They are open to complaints being filed with the Equality and Human Rights Commission if they are not careful!

    I totally agree with you about the macho behaviour of the staff – they walk around in pseudo police uniforms, some with Hyatt Quick Cuffs as though they own the place. They show little courtesy to park visitors who have spent quite a lot of money to visit the place. The use of handcuffs is in some ways a ill conceived policy as the usage of handcuffs by non-police officers can only be justified in certain circumstances. They also have to be especially careful that they are applied in the right way, as any injury caused by the misuse of handcuffs could be considered negligence in the civil courts, and in some circumstances ABH in the Criminal Courts if intent can be proven.

  • Alan says:

    Well said Rob. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Neil Miles says:

    I visited Thorpe park with about 8 friends I was the only male. Some of us about 6 including me were asked if we would come over too the security point to be searched. I am 14 and knew they could not touch me if I refused so I did. I had a reply from one “is there something you don’t want us knowing about mate”. I said ” No but I am not giving you permission ad none of my mates are either giving you permission to check our bags or persons unless you provide me with a copy of your policy stating we must and also I want to know what you are searching for”. As you can imagine they were quiet gob smacked that I had actually told them what I thought and when two of them come up to me to try to intimidate me I moved aside not back and said ” Sorry am I in your way ” and moved aside. They then said to our whole group of 8 ” Us and the management are inviting you to leave the premises “. My reply to this was ” Put this invite in writing and I will return you the RSVP slip telling you unfortunately I do not wish to take up your offer “. Lets just say they was not very happy and I made them even more unhappy when I asked them to get the general manager and they refused I got my own phone out called Thorpe park and asked for the manager to come to the security area. He did it took about 10 mins. I then asked why we had to be searched and he replied it is random. I said well why was I randomly picked what reason did you pick me these other people and not them people over there. He replied you must have drawn attention to yourself which I responded by asking him what I had done to draw attention to myself he said I was not here so I honestly couldn’t say so I seeing a cctv camera said okay then I want all cctv of me recorded on this site which under the freedom of information act 2000 you are required to comply with by law. He then said to the security guard just let them in for god sake so we were on our way without being thrown out or searched as soon as you ask them to do work they instantly start trying to put you off so that is my advice ask them for a legal requirement task.

  • Alan says:

    Good for you Neil! Wouldn’t it cause havoc at the entrance if everyone under 18 was as clued up as you obviously are….? 😉

  • Neil Miles says:

    To be honest I wish everyone was. I was actually getting scared especially when three of the security guards there the senior ones kept on trying to intimidate me by reaching for their handcuffs and putting their hand on then and one was taking them out and pushing the cuff round. One of the girls with me who was not selected for search when asked to move on she replied what’s your authority and he replied I am a police officer now move on there is nothing too see. In some ways I wish the police had come because it would have shown how much like you and I normal members of the public with little or no authority the security guards were I have emailed Thorpe park and am awaiting a reply.

  • Alan says:

    Hello again Neil, in all seriousness you might be in a position that you can make a complaint to the Police.

    Assuming that;

    1. You have witnesses (which you clearly do) the member of the security use the phrase “I am a police officer now move on there is nothing too see”.

    2. It wasn’t actually a Police Officer or Special – I’m guessing you could tell, despite their pseudo Police uniforms.

    3. They haven’t ‘lost’ the CCTV or there is no other way they can identify the individual (which is unlikely as you and your friends should be able to).

    Impersonating a Police Officer is a serious criminal offence.

    You may find this interesting reading…. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/16/section/90

    …and/or (I’m not certain), as minor you may be entitled to some free legal advice on bringing some form of Civil action.

    Let me know how you get on mate. And, feel free to drop me an email if there’s anything you think I can do to help.

  • Neil Miles says:

    Thanks I told my parents and they said they want to take action and the girl involved had about 3-4 witnesses. I phoned her up after reading your response and she said he pointed at his badge he was wearing on his arm that if she remembers rightly was blue with a photo of him on and had a credit card style chip on it with large black numbers and whilst pointing said I am a police officer move on then took his hand away and waved his arms as if he were directing traffic. Thanks for your help once again.
    Neil

  • Alan says:

    Neil

    Good for you mate standing up for yourself, and ‘respect’ to your parents for backing you….

    It’s certainly worth a call to the Police, especially with the support of you mum and dad. Also you might find this link useful http://www.childrenslegalcentre.com/Legal+Advice (failing that I do have some friends in the legal business who may be able to help). They may be able to advise you whether you are entitled to take some form of civil action should the Police not take your complaint seriously.

    You know how to get hold of me now if there’s any way I can help you and/or your parents.

    Do keep me posted…..

  • Neil Miles says:

    Ok thank you very much. You have been very helpful. My parents have phoned the police who have arranged to come to my house to meet me and the girl involved on Thursday. They have said they will have to pass it all on to the police force in Thorpe parks area but they will put an investigation together and prepare everything for Surrey police I think she said as its in their are not Kent. She also said Kent police will give me as much support as possible so it all seems worthwhile.
    Thanks Alan
    Neil

  • Alan says:

    Good for you Neil. Well done! Do let me know how it works out…

  • just avoice says:

    Just food for thought but actually they can require anyone to be searched as a condition of entry.
    If you don’t want to be searched then entry can be refused – simple as !

    If you have nothing to hide then why make things extra difficult.

  • Alan says:

    Perhaps you missed the bit about my personal background, or maybe the point of my little rant. The colour of someone’s skin or there age doe not make them immediately suspect… I do not have issues with the Thorpe park concept of ‘random’. I defy Thorpe Park to prove me wrong. Go ahead – sue me!

    What are you hiding. Mr or Mrs employee?

  • Rob says:

    Well said Alan. But as has been said so many times before, it’s not just their “random” policy of searching, their macho security approach is at fault.

    And that philosophy which the guy above states: “if you have nothing to hide, then what is there to fear”, that is the premise of a fear state run by a dictatorship, as opposed to a democracy which is what we live in. We have the right to go about our business without excessive interference from the authority. The prerogative is not on the citizen to prove their are in the right: this is the assumption that we live in as a participant in a free society.

  • Neil says:

    Hi
    The police came and spoke to me today which is the first time since the last time I spoke with them last month when they took a statement from me and the girls involved. Today they come back to me and said the security guard in question has been officially cautioned. The police said that they spoke to the management and head of security at Thorpe park and they requested copies the security guards files which showed a number of complaints made by the public and even staff about bullying and also telling people he was a police officer.

    The police said “We visited the individual at his home address where he was surprised to say the least to see us. He was taken into our custody and to the police station where a statement was taken from him in which he admitted he wanted people to think he was a police officer we asked him why and he said to scare them he was formally cautioned and given strong words of advice on the law and reminded him of what his job is and what his job description is”. I am pleased with this result and apparently Thorpe park have given him a final chance meaning if he gets any more complaints made then he is out. They have also given all of us free vouchers to get into the park as a gesture of goodwill and said they thank us for bringing it to their attention and in future they will carry out random checks to see how the security staff are performing and will consider annual staff training by the sia on how to deal with situations without using scarce techniques and will also be trained for sure on how to select people for random search.

    Thank you so much for all of your help I really appreciate it and if it wasn’t for you I would have just let it blow past me.

    Thanks again

    Neil

  • Alan says:

    Despite their apologies I believe Thorpe Park are well aware of the situation and the apology is bullshit.

    However, at least you got a proper apology and the Police acted, so good for you Neil.

    Don’t think they’ll change their ways though…. 😉

  • Dave says:

    Sorry Neil but what a load of bullshit!!! I honestly think you should get a life!! I can guarantee that, that has not happened and the police would certainly not get involved with the security staff doing there job and enforcing the parks terms and conditions on private property!! Any guest within the park can be subject to a consensual search under the terms and conditions and anybody who refuses this search you could be asked to leave park!!

    Half of the crap you are talking about breaches data protection and the police would not tell you half of the information that has been written in this shit blog by yourself and other people!

  • Alan says:

    It always amazes me how people feel the need to voice such opinions from behind the guise of anonymity.

    1. Neil, seems a very nice, decent young lad who showed enough balls to stand up for his rights.

    2. You clearly have zero understanding of the data protection laws, or the responsibilities of the Police to follow up complaints.

    3. It may come as a shock to you, but security staff anywhere, private property or not, are subject to the same laws as any other member of society.

    The vehemence of your comment suggests a vested interest in this particular topic. If you are not already wearing a pseudo Police uniform on the gates of Thorpe Park – I’m sure their recruitment people would be very interested in offering you a job should you apply. Your attitude certainly seems to fit the profile of just the kind of people they are looking for.

  • Jacob says:

    Hello.

    I’ve been through my experience with Thorpe park security, as my posts above indicate..

    There is no need for the language, Calm down Dave.

    The way Thorpe park conduct it’s searches aren’t Fair.. They are very much stereo typical.

    I Have got searched after being admitted to the park and returning to the entrance to meet someone.. Being asked to consent to it, I have indicated I do not give permission with them saying I will get kicked out..

    The police have a right to get involved with people who betend they have the powers to do this. The park is still accessible to Any emergency service, Private property does not really come into it. If you are committing a offence which the Security can not deal with. The will proceed to calling the police. As well as if there was any other type of emergency. The police can get involved in this. If it breaks the law. Someone inpersinating a police officer it’s against the law, Someone using the powers they do not posses!

    In regards to what Neil has written. It depends on the type of offence reported, The police force is another one.. Reading through it I can understand that the police do not quite give out that much Information.

    Dave do you work at Thorpe park, or any merlin entertainment establishment Or are you a police officer.? You seem to now what your talking about. Even though some of it needs researching.

    Alan, Has a good discussion here, with peoples experiences and views! And it is only right that the people on here are entitled to what they write. Thorpe park security are knobs!

    Regards.

    Jacob

  • Neil Miles says:

    My problem with them was not the fact that I was going to have to be searched. I would have been fine with it and so would all the other people with me if everybody had to get searched or at least pass through a metal detector like in an airport but it was the fact that they were just selecting people for whatever reason and looking around at the time it seemed to only be random depending on your age who you were with or skin colour and what you were wearing. I was watching other people pass through about my age but with parents and they did not get selected. And its also the fact that Thorpe park security guards were not only ignorant and aggressive the way they were speaking to us which was totally unprofessional but one of them tried to scare one of us by saying he was a police officer. Dave its obvious you should do some homework on this subject because you seem to have an interest in it but maybe you should make sure what you say is correct before you say it. The simple facts are you don’t know what happened between me and the police apart what I have told you on this blog. Everything I have put on here is 100% true and is told how it happened no exaggeration and not b***s*** as you described. Thanks Neil

  • Alan says:

    Well said Neil. Don’t let this idiot get to you (I know you won’t) as Jacob said the guy is just a knob! 🙂

  • Joseph says:

    I think you are missing the point. If you look at an artical written by The Surrey Herald regarding Thorpe park searches: http://chertsey.surreyherald.co.uk/2009/09/drug-dealers-and-knives-at-tho.html Confirm the sucsess of these Searches and the need for them to take place.

    “32 cases of confiscated cocaine 55 cases of class C cannabis and 43 cases of class B cannabis whilst at the search area were found.
    There has also been four incidents where police have recovered drugs that were brought to the family theme park in Chertsey with “intent to supply.”
    On two of those occasions drug dealers brought cocaine to sell in the park grounds. On the other two it was cannabis.
    Twenty cases of confiscated weapons were also seized by Surrey Police including six blades and three cases of CS gas. ”

    These were just 2009 stats.

    Whether these security have “A terminator attitude” Im geatful for the fact they are stopping these things coming into park when I allow my children and family to run round freely which Im sure many other parents do as well and are greatful for this safety. Whether the whole search process is stereotypical or not It’s obviously working. The majority of guests are Teenagers or Young adults. Surely the people asked to be search is going to be mostly people from this age range, I fail to see how this is sterotypical when it’s just an accurate out look of people entering the park, Just a thought hey.

  • James says:

    Hi there guys, I would just like to through my two cents into this highly one sided debate if I may.

    I work at Thorpe Park (the department is not relevant but for the record it is not security). I think it’s fair to say that security anywhere gets a bum rap regardless of where they work, so it’s with no great shock to me that there is a whole forum devoted to bad mouthing Thorpe Park Security.

    The first issue I would like to address is this ‘pseudo Police uniform’ comment that keeps popping up. No one is trying to look like a Police officer at Thorpe Park, the high-vision stab vest is part of their uniform. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly it is to make them more visible to members of staff and guests that come onto park. Secondly it is a ‘stab vest’, it is there to protect them from being stabbed (and yes, we do get people on park that carries knives, and yes they do try to use them, and yes sometimes they are successful).

    Another point brought about by this ‘pseudo Police uniform’ comment is the fact that they have hand cuffs. NO ONE on the Security team is issued hand cuffs without first being trained and signed off to use them. Once again, these are there for their protection. As you can imagine they deal with very hostile characters from time to time, as a last resort this is the best way to deal with an aggressive guest on park. After all, it’s not just Thorpe Park’s Security team that are at risk, guests are at risk too during such incidents. It could well be a youngster like someone on this blog who is getting assaulted… if I were to ask you if you would like 16/17 males and females detained by any means possible, after they had just kick the crap out of you, I’m sure you would say yes.

    Quite a lot of the policies and procedures upheld by Thorpe Park are co-created with Surrey Police Force. Thorpe Park, as you can imagine work extremely closely with all the Surrey Blues Light Services, in actually fact there are many staff members on site who work for Ambulance Services and for the Police Forces. However this in no way means that they would impersonate a Police officer on park, there is no need.

    Jacob, have you taken the time to consider that the person you spoke to in actual fact was a police officer?? We have Police come to Thorpe Park very regularly to assist with searches at the front gate. If you have nothing to hide, why does it matter?

    I’d also like to address the issue that the Security team try to look aggressive, this is truly not the case but at the end of the day they have a very serious job to do. They are constantly on the look out and have to make their presence aware.

    Alan I’m sorry but I can’t except the fact that just because you worked as a security guard at some point in time, that you can possibly know the best way to deal with every security situation. It’s one thing greeting one person at a time on a night club door with a nod and a polite word but when you have to deal with sometimes upwards of 5000 guests in a morning that everyone is going to get a friendly handshake and a greeting onto park… it just can’t feasibly work like that. Let m put it to you another way, what would you rather… A) Gangs… (and I mean STREET GANGS) coming onto park with knives, weapons, drugs etc. but everyone gets acknowledged by Security with a big old smile and a “hello, nice to see you” OR B) someone like yourself doesn’t get a friendly greeting, a smile, and handshake (whatever you were expecting), but things like knives, weapons, drugs are prevented from entering the park, along with the types of characters that would try to bring them in. It would have been a very different story if you’d of come onto park and a young lad pulled a knife out of his bag, and stabbed you because you complained about him queue jumping.

    My friend let me ask you how many times you’ve been greeted into Tesco by the security there? Surely you are a man who expects the same level of service anywhere he goes. Now would it be fair if he followed you around the shop because you had baggy clothes on with lots of pockets? Is he stereotyping or just using practical knowledge of the premises he is in charge of?

    Now, finally let me address the comments made of ‘unfair screening for searches’. Unfortunately, if you are young, carrying a bag, in a group of people, you are likely to be searched, in fact if you look dodgy or shifty and you are looking like you are avoiding security then you will probably be searched. It sucks, it seems unfair at times but it’s called playing the odds. Do you think it’s any different when a Police officer pulls over a young girl or boy for section blah blah blah just for an excuse to see if they are doing something they shouldn’t?? No, it’s not. It’s a harsh reality but the fact of the matter is the young boy driving a Ford Fiesta is more likely to be up to something than an elderly man driving a Nissan Micra. Now having said this, I want to make it absolutely clear that you are not subject to a search for being of a particular age or race. If you are in a large group of people aged 40+, you are all White, you are all Men, and you are all carrying bags and making a lot of noise, guess what? You will probably be searched. But equally if you were all Black or Asian you would too be searched. The fact that all the people on this blog that have commented are white surely shows you that ethnicity does not have any bearing on searches at Thorpe Park. It is very unlikely that at the moment you walked through the gates, 80% (as you say) of people being searched were Asian or Black, but if it is true then maybe this was the factor at that time.

    You all seem like intelligent people but seem to of got your knickers in a bit of a twist about something that is quite trivial. It’s one of those, ‘it has to happen, so get over it kind of situations. It’s no different at a night club, or an airport, or anywhere of a high level of security to be honest.

    Let me know your thoughts as I’d be able to try and balance out this forum as best I can without the need for insults or bad language.

    Cheers,
    James

  • Alan says:

    James and Joseph. I have no wish to be one sided, and have approved your comments. I still fundamentally disagree with you both – and stand by mine and other comments made here. There IS in my opinion a big problem (unless things have changed dramatically since my original post) with security at Thorpe park.

    I do thank you both though for reasonable and reasoned comments as opposed to the idiot (colleague?) ‘Dave’ with his ignorant and insulting comments to a decent young lad who deserved to be treated with more respect.

  • Jacob says:

    James, In fact every merlin entertainment security officer! I’ve come into contact with has been exactly that. Not a police officer.. Don’t get me started on a Police officer searching me.

    As. The polices right and powers will be explained. The person who searched me was part of the security team.. If it was a police officer, I would of made it as hard as possible and exercised my full rights.

    I don’t care, about being searched.. I’ve nothing to hide.. Makes me feel better when I know, They search me because they think I’m hiding something and there totally wrong.. Fail!

    I don’t get stopped by police, I’ve never been searched by Any other security team except at Airports. Never had a problem at Airport security ever… I have been to America, No problem, I’ve been in Citigroups building in London docklands no problem, I’ve been to loads of european countrys no problem.. I am interested to find out why Merlin entertainments security seem to like to single me out every time and search me and treat me like a animal.?!

    When I went, I got admiited. I was with a Black friend, Who got searched as well.. A little bit off, I thought at the time.

    All of merlin entertainment’s security team are the same.. However, I understand why they search, Not got a problen with that. Just how they treated me and my friends. Extremely rude and pig headed and don’t give a crap.

    Your comments are fair enough, Haven’t got a argument against it, and glad the police are around to assist in searching.

  • Thorpe worker says:

    I work the rides at thorpe park and therefore see the security every day.
    I can totally understand where everyone on this forum is coming from and i see security pushing there way through the queue lines every day and upset a lot of customers by acting like billy big bollocks because they have a pair of cuffs and a yellow shiny vest.

    But i can also understand why they may get a bit shitty with people.
    Every day working at thorpe park you see thousands upon thousands of guests, and usually the majority are ok and the nice ones are the people who keep you happy and help you get through your day. But you also get the guests who like to be awkward for the sake of it and cause general hassle. These are the people who make your day go the wrong way and this is when you call security. The security the have to deal with these people who mouth off to them and sometimes assult them so i can understand why they are always wary and pissed off looking, and while i don’t condone racism, its usally groups of black and asian teenage boys that are causing all the problems. So when i see them choosing out black and asian males i tend to think its from experience in the job that they may deliberately pick out a certain group of people, And lets be honest when you walk down a alley or a road and you see a large group of teenage youths, you are most definitely always going to immediately think “they are up to no good”. I’m not defending the security because as i said i see them everyday and i know they can be assholes, but i just think you need to put yourselves in their boots

  • Gary says:

    Thorpe Worker….What team in rides do you work in? And whats your first name?

  • Alan says:

    I strongly suggest not replying to this email! Unless you know who this person is – or why they are asking.

    At best your job could be at risk – at worst you may find yourself in handcuffs behind the bike shed getting a kicking from thugs in pretend Police uniforms 🙂

  • Thorpe worker says:

    lol couldnt say mate, wouldnt want to risk my job!

  • Thorpe worker says:

    are you an employee

  • Thorpe worker says:

    and cheers alan lol i just saw your comment, he probley is a heavy, and they would definatley fire me as speaking out against the company is strictly against the rules. They would probly take me to the holding room aswell, thats where most of the people they dont like seem to disappear to………

  • Alan says:

    The holding room sounds like a wonderful little place! 🙂

    (I made a slight edit on your comment as your comment about your name might have given a small clue – just in case)

  • Mr P says:

    I work for Thames Valley Police went to Thorpe Park on Wednesday (my rest day) and had no issues with security until the checks. I went with 3 other people and they all got searched whilst I managed to escape it. (Maybe it was because I am a Merlin Annual Pass holder and used a different gate to them, who knows!) Whilst they were been searched they asked what it was for and were told by security it was policy to stop and search random people to prevent knives and drugs amongst other things entering the park. My friends were 100% happy with been searched as they knew they had nothing to hide.

    Whilst waiting for my friends to be searched I was approached by a male security guard and asked to move along it quite a rude tone of voice. I thought to myself he must have no friends if that is how he speaks to people. I was polite to the security guy and told him I was only waiting for my friends and causing no harm and was not in anyone’s way. He went to push me away but I warned him if he touched me I would have him arrested for assault. He said I had no grounds to do that and it was not until I showed him my police warrant card he walked off and let me where I was.

    I understand security are there for the safety of the people at the park however their whole body language is so wrong. They walk around speak to you like you can’t touch them. If I was to act like they did when I’m out on shift then I’m going to bring myself unwanted trouble.

    On a good note about the security:

    Whilst enjoying our day at Thorpe Park we were on one of the rides where security were called to some guy who had just stood up on the ride and jumped off it and over the fence. His friends were taken to one side after they had exit the ride and were removed from the park after other security had managed to find the original person.

    Whilst at Fright Nights in 2009 I was waiting outside Tidal Wave for my friends when we noticed a large group of youths start to gather, security and police were paroling the site and saw this large group, when they got to the area a fight broke out between some of the youths, security were quick to react and several people were handcuffed by the police and security. This was before I was a police officer and by having the main offenders in handcuffs it made everyone feel a little more safer.

    So the security in my eyes are doing an ok job however need to chill out a bit in the secuirty checks. I think they give off the wrong signs and it could cause several people not wanting to visit Thorpe Park again.

  • Alan says:

    Mr P – thanks for your opinion. Appreciated.

    I speak for myself, and possibly others here when I say that I NEVER had an issue with security being there. I agree it is absolutely necessary. Yes, I know originally I’d questioned whether the ‘random’ searches were racist. I asked the question as on the day it went it certainly appeared so to both myself and the friend with me. They may be, they may be not.

    What they certainly were was unprofessional, bullying and had a serious attitude. Perhaps they have problems finding the right staff – have you read the article about the numpty elsewhere on this site who thought it would be cool to change his name by deed-pole to ‘Animal’. Not a good indicator of the calibre of people they employ!

    I made the point that (way back when!) when I worked the doors it was possible to provide security professionally, have a bit of friendly banter with the punters, and to some level entertain. The big point being that Thorpe Parke is in the business of providing entertainment. In the entertainment business they should be aiming to entertain from first contact until you guy home – instead you are greeted by a bad attitude and ‘don’t mess with us we’re hard’ body language. The day I visited (which has been and will be my last) they pissed me off from the very first instance… it was downhill from thereon when I dared to voice my concerns.

  • Saeed says:

    Unfortunatly from my own personal experiances at thorpe park the magority of people who que jump, start fights, jump into ride areas, smell of weed, start gang fights and carry knives are coloured. I am myself coloured (half iranien) so I promise you I am not being racist. Tho the security staff probably need to get off their high horse I understand their selection. If most of the security problems you deal with involved people of colour aren’t you therefore more inclined to pull coloured people over?

  • Pingback: Thorpe Park securuty - in the news! | Alan Gandy

  • Joshden says:

    I have to say that something similar happened to me when I visited Thorpe Park in April.

    We went there about 9:30 or so, got the tickets and started to queue to get through the main gates…

    After 15 minutes or so we got to the gates and I was pulled by my t-shirt by a sercuity guard and told that I have to go through the Metal Detectors or I wouldn’t be able to get in and no refund will be given… So I went through…

    Now this is the shitty bit. While I was emptying my pockets and putting me stuff into the plastic box, the sercuity guard started going through my wallet.

    At this point I was pissed off because they didn’t smile or ask anything, and pulled me by my top, so I said to him what do you think your doing? He just looked at me and put my wallet down.

    I got through the metal detector and before I picked my stuff up from the plastic box, he started asking me questions which are follows:

    – Where you from? I replied and said Sheerness in Kent
    – Wheres your mum and dad from? I said Kent
    – So your not from another country then? I said no, why?

    He started saying stupid things like oh its cos you got olive skin and have dark brown hair and eyes… At this point I was pissed off and freaked out.

    I said what is it to you anyway? which he didn’t answer apart from “sercuity reason”. So I went mental and said, if i wanted my life examined by you, then I would fucking ask. at this point the sercuity guard said stop being a smart ass and go into the park. My partner noticed what was happening and he asked for the sercuity guards name and ID number. The sercuity guard was kinda shock and decided to give it…

    We then went to the customer service desk and complained like hell to them about the rest of time (about 15 minutes) and the racism (which I am fully English, but cos of the colour of my skin) that the sercuity guard had done. the member of staff didn’t know what to do, so we got the P.R. officer and spoke to them. They said that they would investigate it and let us know what has happened and offered us a refund, food vouchers and fast track tickets as a way of saying sorry.

    2 or 3 days later I got a phone call of thorpe park explaining what happened and they said the sercuity guard has denied all the things, but cos this is thr 4th (Yes FORTH) time someone has complained about the sercuity guard has been fired and all files have been passed on to Surrey Police about racism and homophobia and abuse. They offered more tickets to re-visit the park but we decided to turn it down as it wasn’t really Thorpe Park’s fault the sercuity guard was a cunt!

    I later found out from someone that works at Thorpe Park that Surrey Police dropped the case within a few days of recieving the files, but they have banned him from a sercuity guard for 2 years.

  • Alan says:

    What horrifies me here that it appears it took 4 complaints for them to take it seriously. From my original experience and all that’s been said here I believe the company themselves to be arrogant and pretty much not giving a toss about the obvious problems they have.

  • Mr Unknown says:

    I am not writing on here to start up a great discussion or to cause
    an argument on this blog but i am merely commenting to be informative
    as i am an extremely reliable source. I have left my name unknown
    and my identity to try and prevent any more ammunition being given
    to those that hate thorpe park security so much. So to the message
    i have recently come across this log and seen that their are some
    comments that have incorrect and quite farfetched information.
    For example stories of security guards losing there jobs. This is not
    the case and no security member of staff has been fired due to their
    approach to members of the public in the last three years. Also i would
    like to add that thorpe parks guest services department would not
    release any information on the amount of complaints the securities
    department have had against them. I see comments like these as
    ‘jumping on the band wagon’ of haters against security and other
    law enforcement agencies. I can understand peoples problems with
    security as a whole but i do not appreciate far fetched comments made
    about a team so close to myself. I am writing now directly to Alan
    Gandy as i understand your are both an interllectual and intellegent
    man, you yourself must know procedures in major companies and the
    so called stories that have been posted and you have aggreed with
    can surely not be true. As i say i am a very reliable source and feel
    discredited as a person who practices such high proffesionalism in the
    workplace to both members of the public and staff. I do not ask you
    to change your views on the establishment and its staff but be
    realistic about what is being said and remove this blog from the
    internet .
    Thank you for your time from Mr Unknown.

  • Alan says:

    Dear Mr Unknown – I appreciate your anonymity, and your comments. I can only assume you are a Thorpe Park employee or Manager – if so, hats off to you for stating your case, as a couple of others have here – not all positively.

    Yes, I am aware of the procedures of major companies. And you are right, I will not change my views. As far as I, and it seems many others are concerned, the security at Thorpe Park is a far from professional set-up. In the unlikely event you are management at the park I invite you to contact me directly – I offer my services as a ‘mystery shopper’, give me the opportunity to prove to you the shortcomings of the security department.

    To describe many of the post here as far-fetched and fabrications is somewhat naive. Ask one simple question – why exactly would anyone here have made comments, and taken the time to voice their concerns unless they were genuine? The people who have posted here to the best of my knowledge ARE genuine (at the very least the vast majority are), and I have had personal conversations with a number them outside this blog, via real names, real email addresses, and about real experiences.

    The one phrase that stands out from your comment is;

    “I see comments like these as ‘jumping on the band wagon’ of haters against security and other law enforcement agencies.”

    Two points on this….

    1. Virtually all comment are specific to the lack of professionalism shown by Thorpe Park security staff, nobody has complained about the Police or anyone else.

    …and most importantly (which is what mine and many of these other comments focus on)

    2. ‘security and other law enforcement ages’ – an interesting comment, in which you compare Thorpe Park staff with law enforcement agencies. Security at the park (even if they do wear pseudo Police uniforms) is NOT a law enforcement agency in any way shape or form. Many of the comments here are about how delusional the Thorpe Park staff are in thinking they are, and have a tendency to be far to cocky in that fantasy.

    Remove my blog from the Internet? Haven’t laughed so loud in ages. Who exactly (in your anonymity) the f**k do you think you are? 🙂

    Whilst I have your attention – would you care to give us an update on this case? http://voice-online.co.uk/article/man%E2%80%99s-nightmare-day-thorpe-park

    My mystery shopper offer still stands…. 🙂

  • Joel says:

    Hi there I visited Thorpe park yesterday along with 32 other staff and young people from a cadet forces group upon entering the park after the kids all but one of te staff team were filtered in to the search area I would say in my own oppinion all but 2 of the numerous security team members were professional polite and approachable smiles and a little bit of banter was exchanged between the security and our staff team maybe things are changing ??

    Many thanks Joel

  • Carl says:

    Alan grow up mate ….. Look at me I am a bouncer …. This is the sort of people that always complain about other security and the simple fact is they think they can do better …. Smiling does not always pay off as then u may become a push over … i bet u give hugs and kisses at your club u big wimp

    enough said … Stick to spain mate and let the uk make there own security rules

  • Barry says:

    Alan, in respect to the news article you quoted a few comments above, there are two sides to every story. I witnessed the event, and the young male who initiated the whole event was incredibly rude and violent towards to staff. They acted in the correct way towards him. I can understand why his carer would try to intervene, but when someone you are with is being held to the floor, it’s normally best to not jump in, as you will get the same treatment.

    Also, everytime I have been to the park, I’ve found the Security to be more than adequate. You have people complaining that the “random selection” isn’t random, and you’d probably be correct. Yes, you do see more often than not the “yoofs” being searched, and the people who generally look like they may be up to something. Nope, not everyone wearing their hood up and strutting like they own the place has a knife or some weed, but they are more likely to have it than someone else. Yes I know it sounds wrong, but from working closely with similar jobs, you realise it is the case.

    And you claim that the security think they are the best, or use unnecessary force? All of the times I’ve seen something happen, they’ve been more than justified with what they’ve done.

    At the end of the day, I don’t care if they are standing there in “terminator poses”. The rest of the staff are there to make sure you enjoy yourself, the security team’s job is to be vigilant and look after the guests. I’d rather they looked intimidating and therefore let the “rude boys” and chavs know that they aren’t going to take any shit, than looked like they were pushovers, and that anybody could overrule them.

  • Alan says:

    Joel: Maybe they have improved since my original post – I hope so!
    Carl: Yawn… Would take you more seriously if you had read the original post properly before firing off.
    Barry: Clearly we have a different view, but thank you for your sensible and thought out comment.

  • Phil (Rat) says:

    Hi All: Very valid points from most. (Less Carl)

    Just like to add my input into the discussion. Speaking generally about security and not just Thorpe Park.

    Its a known fact in the industry that it can be very difficult to get the balance of security and Customer service correct and I would also put my neck out and say that it is near on impossible to get the balance right with today’s current threats. What may work one day may not work the next day.

    Unfortunately in most industries there will always be the jobs worth’s who give others a bad name, and because of this the government introduced the Security industry authority (SIA) as a governing body for the industry.

    It was needed, and it weeded out a lot of criminal underworld types that “ran the doors” with convictions for violence etc. So along came the SIA with all its training and vetting that goes with it. This has had a major impact on security for the right reasons. A lot of the training does involve Customer service and conflict management. The main problem I believe is the training providers who are not governed by SIA.

    I recruit Security officers for a high profile establishment in the UK so I get involved a lot with the recruiting process and training. Successful recruits go through a 3 week induction which also includes the SIA licence with our company.

    Outside training companies as I have said are not governed and this was evident when I was bringing in already qualified SIA holders. We as a company with high standards would still put these people through the SIA training and exams again only to find that a lot of them had never sat any exams or any training. One particular gentleman when challenged about his course (usually 4 days) explained to me that all he had to do was turn up, fill out a form, have a photo taken and pay £400 and 4 weeks later his licence arrived in the post. Another explained that the answers for the exams were on display on the walls were he sat his exams.

    So whilst I am not sticking up for the Rude, ego headed security guards that think they are van dams, and bearing mind a security guard has no more powers than you and I, I would question where and how they got the qualification.

    We pride ourselves were I work on knowing we have one of the best Security companies across Europe. This is why we don’t have “security guards” or “doormen”; we have the best trained “Security officers”.

    Just my thoughts.

    Phil

  • Thorpe Park Employee (Nice one) says:

    I have read this forum after I heard a member of the management team talking about it. I work at Thorpe park. There are many people unhappy with the search policy at the park, you only have to stand at the end of the entrance bridge to see how many people moan about being stopped. I will agree very strongly there is a sort of grey area “prejudice” search policy in progress. Yes, we do get trouble quite often, mostly at busy times and school holidays. The problem is mainly young people and teenagers causing problems, queue jumping and bad language in what was a family environment up until about 2 years ago when the park went for a younger audience. Most, not all security guards are rude and admittedly do like to think they are police and do love pretending they’re the biggest hardest men in the country. There is a case on here that I remember hearing about and I know how young people are targeted. I never like to use security if there is a problem straight away. I prefer to try to resolve things the quick way as oppose to calling security getting 10 guards turn up making a massive bundle on top of two people simply having a row over who got the seat first or who pushed in. I also have witnessed racial discrimination as I had been working on a ride and saw lads jumping the fence and queue jumping so I called for security giving the description as white with jeans etc. They sent four guys over who got rid of the lads quickly. Later that day I saw black guys jump the fence so I radioed we had queue jumpers and a brief description and before you know it there is 8 guards there with handcuffs out escorting them from the park. I think this is morally wrong. Especially with the random searches. It should not be called random they should call it under 25’s un-accompanied and non whites, people dressed differently and if your not with kids then over to the metal detectors you go. It’s funny because whenever there is an incident in the park involving a weapon or drugs and the CCTV of them is reviewed they have never been searched. For god sake if your going to search people do it properly like scan everyone and be friendly, don’t just pick who you think look trouble be forceful with them and then look disappointed when they haven’t got anything on them it defeats the whole object of keeping the visitors safe. The security in my opinion just looks for trouble.

    [Incident description edited out at this point – see note below*] I don’t even think the police were called I think it was a case of old school bouncers and many of the guards here do work like that. I personally think the search policy should be abolished and the security should learn conflict management not physical intervention. Impersonating police is just what they do, last year they wanted a security smart car with CCTV on it and blue lights to operate in the park and car park to get them around quicker and I suppose make them look like police. Glad they didn’t get it, what’s the bet it would of had a chevron back, police blue and yellow sides and the blue light’s as proposed. I’m surprised they don’t change their stab vests to tiny writing at the top saying Thorpe park and then below it in huge bold letters POLICE.

    [*NB: I have removed form the point of the message a description of a specific incident that I felt might identify the poster, the description made specific reference to violence way beyond ‘reasonable force’ – I would hate to think of this comment starting a witch hunt by management or security]

    Additional slight edits have been made to protect the identity of the person who made this comment

  • Jeff says:

    i went to thorpe park with my friends but one person was late so we waited after the barriers, when a security guard started staring at us. we were all in the checks, which we were fine to do but then they started going through our stuff and i was like, what the hell are you doing sherlock?
    just be quiet. i went what are you looking for?
    you know the usuals.
    i was like WTF!

    anyway i forgot about this as my friends all have annual passes and said it is not normally like this.
    I am now not sure if i even want a pass.

  • Fred. says:

    I would like to reply to “Thorpe park employee (Nice one)”.If you bothered reading your Staff handbook you’d have read the terms and conditions of the park, maybe then you’d understand why for instance One person would just get removed from the que line and another would end up getting escorted off park. Know what you’re talking about before you go ranting and raving on a blog on a subject you know nothing about. You see a split second of what the security Staff actually does which is when you call them. You have no Idea what their job actually involves or what happens outside your rides units. And as for “Most, not all security guards are rude and admittedly do like to think they are police and do love pretending they’re the biggest hardest men in the country.” There are some Females that work there too. How about go and ask your management why Security make the decisions they do after an incident has been delt with or Why the Park search policies are the way they are, Or ask security themselves to explain the decison after you call them, Or as I said actually bother to read through the staff handbook and the terms and conditions of the park, then have your say on a blog. Thanks.

  • Thorpe park employee (Nice one) says:

    Reply to fred. I need not waste my time reading absolute sh** in a book which tells you nothing about a real situation and how they occur. I was not arguing over the fact we have security we need them. I was just trying to let the truth out about what horrible vicious creatures they are. Sometimes I loom at them thinking what the hell are these people are they even human ! The women are just as bad to be fair, you see them grabbing other women by the hair and dragging them out the park which as far as I am concerned is assault. I no home office or SIA guidelines does it say grab someones hair. I know this first hand because I work at a nightclub as a door supervisor and have done for a while so don’t lecture me on security. When we get problems we have to ask them to leave nicely and politely and if they don’t comply then we will try to help them a bit but if they still resist we call the police which is what you get trained to do on the course for your licence. Our search policy at the club is everyone is searched which is fair but at other clubs we have had other methods such as just randomly picking or using a random search selector device which lets be honest is the point of random search its about getting lucky. Thorpe park however go around searching who ever looks different and then if there is a problem inside the park rather than just getting both sides of the story and taking appropriate action whether that be sending hem two different ways or removing one from the park they could ask nicely rather than not even giving a chance for them to explain, running yup to whoever they think caused it and then drag them out by the scruff of their neck and give them a beating in the car park which if you do work at Thorpe park you would know does happen. I was actually thinking about joining security when I first joined Thorpe park because I had the relevant licences ( I hold an SIA close protection licence). but then I saw what they do and it involves doing nothing until its time for an MMA match. As you will know if you work at Thorpe park only last week a senior security guard lost his job for letting a group of 12 of his friend into the park after hours for a little back hander and he and a ride operator paired up and let them on swarm 5 times ! Thats how much security guards are trusted and thats how the abuse that trust. I think though this may have happened many times before in the past and with my own eyes I have seen stealth running at 2 am.

  • Alan says:

    Given that this post was made several years ago and still generates comments it amazes me that things at the park, it would seem, have not changed one iota. And, also that Merlin Entertainments have never made any attempt to answer in anay way so many first hand accounts of the apparent lack of professionalism of their security staff.

    I’m also curious as to why Surrey Police have not taken a long hard look at the activities of the park. If many of the accusations in the comments are true an under-cover officer on the security staff for a couple of weeks could turn up a few ‘results’ in no time… 😉

  • Mr P says:

    I’m going on Friday 25th May but this time without my Merlin Pass as it has expired and I am not going to renew it. This means I have to use the same gate as everyone else to enter the park so fingers crossed for a ‘stop search’ as I will have my video camera at the ready. 🙂

  • Mickey says:

    Got stopped today at entry (white male, 25 years old) and security were polite and professional.

  • Louie says:

    Personally I think that is a completle waste of time, you all have nothing better to do the sit here like keyboard warriors, if you actually had a problem then go and complain instead sl*gging them off from your computer screens, there only doing there job and so what if they might pick certain members of the public out that may be innocent but look suspioscus it’s what there do it, protect anyone from any type of harm, if people are fighting what do you expect them to do, sit there and watch it NO, of course there going to be handcuffing and and pulling people apart, there more then likely to of had the correct trainning! I’ve been going to Thorpe park for years and yes they look like miserable sod’s but I’ve never once had a problem with any of them, they’ve actually been quite polite, so how about you all go and get a grip you bunch of computer wan*ers and as for the Thorpe Park employee, your clearly a wimp go and tell your managers if you see stealth running at 2am, one how do you how it’s not night security and two who will operating? Clearly they’re all at home as no one is that much of a jobs worthy and lastly you should of alerted someone in your team the next day, so realistically you didn’t see it running did you?! RANT OVER.

  • Jacob says:

    Louie,

    I find it quite amusing on the language on your post, Calm down a bit !

    Complain ? Lets see, I did email and report my issues, no one cares.. ? So what else do I do, It is not serious enough on my point of view for a police report.

    And I couldn’t kick much of a fuss as, Thorpe park would be liable for kicking me out of the park, its called “child protection”..

    Because of the way, Merlin entertainment as a whole conduct there security I refuse to visit any of there attractions because they just can’t do it properly. But every other security team can.. I can understand what they have to deal with. These days its hard to provide security, its like when I attended a air show, you have G4S contracted to search you, and the RAF police watching you who will do the removing… But the difference is Thorpe parks have to do both. and it is different legislation across the board.. If a police officer injured/assaulted you.. You would make a complaint. or go to the IPCC.. With private security. I would make a formal complaint then sue them for it, as they are basically civilians with training and wearing uniform.. they are liable just like anyone else..

    In my eyes, there job is to search, respond to issues, kick people out.. The police should be present on a routine basis at Thorpe park ! Expecially when you are under 18 or in a situation where you can’t act for yourself. they make you sign consent to be searched, it is a contract. You don’t get much choice, if you say “no” you get kicked out, and it is a child protection issue hence why the police should be present, however they cannot search in the same way as they need to have a genuine reason for a search and have to present a written reason for it, it fulls under stop and search powers. They can get in trouble for what Thorpe park security have been witnessed doing..

    Thanks,
    Jacob.

  • Thorpe park employee says:

    Louie, I find you very one sided and biased. If you have had an encounter with security you would know what they are like and everyone seems to have the same problem with their lack of professionalism. I have already stated I work within the security industry in my spare time ( purely because I enjoy it ) and there is a set of guidelines you must follow. You can intervene but you MUST use SIA approved physical intervention techniques that have been tried and tested by the home office. As for the handcuffs anyone carrying them must be trained and insured. I believe that the handcuffs may be necessary but should be maybe kept out of sight such as in an enclosed pouch or pocket, this would avoid people becoming intimidated in situations similar to that of Neil’s. You call me a whip but if you was to confront me in person you would be changing your tone. I am bigger than most of the security team but I actually know how to listen. There is also an issue with licensing within the security team at Thorpe park. This is because within the security industry you need to be licensed. Now there is different levels of licences that cover different activities. Over 60% of the security team at Thorpe park only have a security guard licence which is available for about £80 from the SIA. But in reality if you are required to remove people from the site or routinely physically restrain people and then remove them from the site and not just restrain until the police arrive then you need a door supervisor licence, but this will set them back £250 so many have just opted for the security licence but that does not cover the purpose they are surfing totally so there may be a legal issue. I did see stealth running and i did report it the next day and the reply i got from my supervisor was pretty much a we all know it happens but if you have the balls to report it be my guest. If the corrupt bullies of security found out you had grassed them up then your really in for it. So please don’t go making assumptions and telling people they are wrong because you don’t THINK they are telling the truth.

  • Mr P says:

    Guess who got stopped and not searched?! I went through the barrier after having issues with my ticket which I just brought not working. A polite young staff member came over and let me through the gate. Then this rather large looking security guard stood in front of me and told me to go and join the search line. I was fine with it and was polite and asked what was the search for? He explained it was for the safety of the parks visitors and staff and to help prevent knifes amongst over things been brought into the park.

    Without sounding racist there were a group of 7-8 black young adults in front of us who didn’t get searched at all. The way they dressed was would could be classed as a typical London gangster so I was surprised at how I was stopped yet they were not.

    I did ask the security guard why did he not stop them but he ignored the question and just told me to move into the search line in a slightly rude voice. I ignored his slight anger issue and joined the line.

    Another member of the security team was going through the line of people with a clipboard and bit of paper making every person sign it. The paper said that by signing it we consent to the security team going through our personal belongings and making contact with our bodies in order to search us.

    I said to the security guard what happens if I don’t consent to that? He just said “you HAVE to sign it or you will be removed from the park.”

    I replied “I did not want the security team to touch me as they are not police officers and I wanted a police officer to search me if I HAVE to sign the paper.” He replied I was on private property and he does not have to call the police to search me. I disagreed with him and was taken to one side and asked to wait, I have no idea where the security person went but he never came back.

    I pulled out my phone whilst waiting and started to record my friends taking the p**s when I was asked to ‘stop filming and put my camera away as they do not know what I was filming’ by yet another security person. I asked him why as I was only filming my friends.

    *brace yourself*

    He said it was ‘under the terrorist act’ to which I burst out laughing. I said someone had been watching to many police programs on TV. I waited for about 2 mins for the security person who left me to come back but I got bored and managed to just walk off.

    So in the end I had a good day at Thrope Park even though it is now apparently illegal to film family and friends, my highlight was managing to slip past security when I was right next to them.

    …Good job I didn’t have a bomb really. 😛

  • Phil says:

    I was pulled aside for searching today. I’m mid thirties, white, and was with with my wife. We’re both in professional jobs and basically as middle class as you get. I do, however, have sunken eyes, a genetic trait. I completely believe I was singled out because of this.

    Putting aside the very unprofessional manner with which the search was announced and delivered, I have to say how useless it seemed to be. It felt like they were having a nose in my wallet, I assume they were looking for drugs but what self respecting druggie would be that obvious? Either search everyone in the same manner or don’t bother at all.

    I was physically and verbally intimidated by the member of staff at the gate today. I have never been treated in this manner by any security staff, in any country, ever. I was shocked into silence by him. It completely ruined my day and I’m still sitting here in bed unable to sleep because of this. Yes I have already sent a letter of complaint to the park management but I don’t expect a satisfying response. I’m posting this here as it seems to be the only place where lasting comment about this can be seen and I will be directing any further correspondence to this blog.

  • Alan says:

    Sorry to hear about this Phil. It seems in the years since I made the original post nothing has changed. I doubt it ever will.

    It speaks volumes about the attitude of Merlin Entertainment that I have never once been approached about all these comments since being offered ‘free tickets’ to shut me up. You’d think a company of their standing might in some way want to appease me, you and all the others who have complained here. But the bottom line is clearly that they simply don’t care.

    Shame on you Merlin. Wonder who’s heads would roll if I draw this to the attention of the CEO?

  • Phil says:

    I got a response, that when I suggested there was inadequate customer facing training, that they went through a rigorous “1 week training with Surrey Police”. So, just enough to make them think they are police, but not enough to become responsible for their conduct. My complaint had nothing to do with their “police training” but more with their “park training”, which sounds completely minimal. So that would explain that. I can only assume that this is Merlin policy, unfortunately.

    Also bearing in mind all the adverts for their “Ride and Rave” events, they are completely marketing themselves at potential drug takers, so lesson learnt, Thorpe Park (and by extension, Merlin) do not want my business.

  • Rick says:

    Firstly I completely agree the security there are very intimidating. It really put a dampener on our excited selves running through the entrance, only to be made to queue for another 5 minutes or so and have the contents of our bags thrown out for everyone to see.

    However, how can you complain about them specifically choosing black/asian people? Personally I did not experience this and it seemed they went out of their way to NOT choose any black/asian people from fear of being called racist. But when was the last time you saw a white person blowing something up with a bomb? And statistically black people commit 55% of knife crime and over half of gun crime in the United Kingdom. It’s not racist, it’s just being sensible.
    It’s not as if it matters anyway. If these people who are singled out don’t pose any threat, as I’m sure 99.9% don’t, they had to wait maybe half a minute more to have a quick search. It’s hardly the end of the world.
    It’s political correctness gone mad!

  • Luke says:

    Ok Here’s my complaint that I sent through – I’ve found it almost therapeutic to see that I’m not the only one whose noticed this.

    Here it goes!

    ——–

    Before I start, I’d like to note that the intention of this letter is to not dismiss the hard effort and work of Thorpe park’s security team. I am aware that staff go through training and in addition to this, that staff must filter through tens of thousands of people on a daily basis. Therefore I understand that these roles are not easy and that whilst the aim is to deliver a satisfactory service, it’s only human to fall short in busy and sometimes stressful circumstances.

    On the other hand, I’d also like to note that this is not the first incident of its kind for me in Thorpe park and I have read countless complaints of others observing and experiencing what I did at Thorpe park. Therefore I’d request and hope that you acknowledge this letter not as a one off incident, but via proactively aiming to make the security team stick to the values held within the security team; not defending a training procedure that isn’t always being adhered to; there is always room for improvement in situations as these and one victim is enough for something to be done.

    The following experience exposes a level of prejudice within the Thorpe park security team.

    As a black male, I’ve encountered many a ‘random’ stop and search in the name of ‘public safety’. Whether this be a coincidence or an exposing of prejudice of individuals within a security force, the most recent one, being at the entrance to Thorpe park, was really disheartening.

    Thorpe Park for us was a family outing and we planned to make a great day of it; £70 unlimited fast track tickets for 4 of us, star slushies, fish and chips and everything else the park had to offer – we spent over £450 on this day of family fun and it’s unfortunate that the social enjoyment of each others company came at the cost of what we experienced at the entry gates.

    We are an interracial family: my family consists of 2 black males, 1 white male, 2 white females and 1 white male baby. Whilst entering as a group, myself and the other black male were picked from different gates to be stopped and searched. There was also another black male with his white girlfriend who was selected as part of the titled ‘random stop and search process’. The three of us accounted for all ethnic minorities present at that particular time amidst an otherwise all-white presence.

    My family members and some of the nearby onlooking public sighed and shook their head in disgust as the stop and search line revealed the apparent racial profiling/trend of the individuals in the line – one that I, family members and friends are unfortunately no longer shocked by as we have been victim of it several instances by other security forces supposedly acting in the concern of ‘public safety’.

    I was told that people were selected at random by the guards, which may I add is a relatively unstable sampling method according to my degree; humans are not computers and therefore use skills in reasoning to determine ‘why’ in any selection process; even if this reasoning were to come from the subconscious mind. I think it was subtle racist/prejudice reasoning which linked the trend of why the line at this point had all the ethnic minorities present at the welcoming gates at that particular time.

    Why were none of my white family approached? Why did the guard usher my white family members aside to ensure he could guide me and my black relative to the gates? Why did the queue consist of all ethnic minorities present in the area at that particular time? Why has this trend been mentioned and complained of numerous times on several occasions at Thorpe Park? What is being done to reduce and eradicate this unacceptable behaviour?

    I can assure you, myself and the witnesses of experiences such as these do not have a ‘chip on their shoulder’. We are not keen on complaining and are not fixated on interpreting every action within the spectrum of it being racist or not. Therefore, please do not choose to be ignorant to what’s happening by deflecting our experience as our problem. If you do this, you take responsibility in adding to the problem.

    By no means am I accusing or attempting to accuse Thorpe park’s security team of running a racist operation, but I am convinced that there are individuals within the security team that are using their personal prejudice whilst on the job, and in doing so, are casting a very poor reflection on the values held by Thorpe park and it’s security force in context of the Race Relations Act (1976) and in the most recent legalisation on race relations as outlined in the Equality Act (2010).

    Whilst saddened and nervous from the event, I decided to be proactive and speak on behalf of the many ethnic minorities that are randomly stopped search, and are totally convinced they are being searched upon their skin colour and/or other cultural, racial stereotypes. I spoke with the head of security whilst at guest services who assured me that all staff undertook training and that thousands were processed every day. She was adamant that her security team did not use prejudice as it was against their training. This response was very cliché and robotic. Whilst I understand it is not in her interests to acknowledge such abusive behaviour, she was not present whilst we were being searched, and she did not witness the obvious dissatisfaction shown by the public at the welcoming gates who picked up on the obvious difference between those being welcomed into the park and those being searched. In her failure to acknowledge that there was no flaw to be addressed within her team with phrases such as ‘I’m sorry you feel that’s the way you were treated’, it was the equivalent of rubbing salt in the wound as it made my family and I feel as if we were being paranoid, over-the-top and reading into our experience without reasoning, logic and experience.

    The head of a police force would never admit to running a racist team of workers but I candidly say based on my experience and the many complaints of family, friends and the wider society that we all are aware of racism and racial profiling being present in some of the police force via the ethnic minorities who are stopped and searched so frequently that it becomes noticeable and a concern.

    Our day was adversely affected due to this treatment at Thorpe park; we spoke about it between rides, whilst eating and on recapping the day to the rest of our family and friends. It churned up some of the social behaviour we are all too aware of and experience as an interracial family (people not knowing we’re together and the black side being treated obviously differently to the white). It added a very bitter element to the sweetness of each other’s company as we were forced to relive the stories of prejudice from other security forces that were only apparently ‘blindly, randomly picking out individuals’ as Thorpe Park apparently did.

    I only think it reasonable that compensation is offered to balance out an incident that has tainted my family’s and my experience of a great family day out.

    Regards,

  • Alan says:

    ‘I’m sorry you feel that’s the way you were treated’

    This seems to be the stock response. Meaningless. Never sorry for the fact that they have, and continue to screw up…..

  • Luke says:

    Thanks Alan for being a good moderator. Additionally, thank you for having a site like this where people can talk and vent; it’s actually quite therapeutic.

    I’ve posted the reply I’ve gotten below so those interested can keep track of how this complaint is handled. It’s interesting how by stating that the security force was trained by the Surrey Police is meant to mean that all behaviour is justified and that there is absolutely no flaw, let alone prejudicial views within the work force. I’ll be using this site as evidence in my reply post – maybe chuck in some extras such as http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/ltext/l0480006.htm

    Dear Luke,

    Thank you for taking the time to email into us regarding your recent visit to THORPE PARK. We appreciate all guest comments and queries and without guests such as you contacting us we would be unable to improve the services we provide for our future visitors.

    Firstly, I would like to apologise that you were disappointed with the manner in which our security searches were operated. We aim to provide all guests with a fun and thrilling experience and I was disappointed to read that our selection process hindered your experience at THORPE PARK quite significantly.

    With regards it is a sign of the times that we have been forced into the regretful position of having to conduct security searches as people enter the Park. As much as we’d love this to apply to every single guest coming in, as we can have up to 6000 people coming through in a hour this would be an almost impossible task without causing delays as people enter. All guests are subject to Terms and Conditions and these terms and conditions do state that each guest entering the park may be subject to being searched upon request. There are also notices on the main board outside the park stating this. The reason we ask guests to sign a form during their search is to clarify for guests why we carry out searches and under the terms and conditions if falls under. Guests are entitled to refuse a search but at the same time they would be asked to leave the park for failing to comply with the parks terms and conditions. We work very closely with Surrey Police who support our proactive approach to security at the park, as carrying out our searches benefit’s the safety, security and welfare of all our guests.

    In your comments you mention that you felt as though the random selection process is unsuccessful. Our entire Security Team are put through rigorous training in order to ensure they are performing their imperative job role to their best ability. Our Security Team work extremely closely with Surrey Police who are involved in our training process meaning that all of our staff are trained to follow all park regulations to the letter.

    I can only apologise that you were unhappy with the process of searching and I have ensured that the relevant managers are aware of your comments and I hope that this incident does not deter you from visiting in the future.

    Kind Regards,

    *name purposely deleted for this post*

  • Alan says:

    It’s three years since my original post, and sadly, it seems nothing has changed at Thorpe Park… Excuses, excuses, and more excuses.

  • Luke says:

    Wow 3 years! I hope moderating this post hasn’t come taxing! Yes you’re right with the excuses..Since being created in 1979, I’m sure they’ve built thick skin to customer complaints – almost brings the daunting thought of will they ever? I think if we can fill their pockets daily (they make approx £500,000 a day) we can also fill their minds with food for thought. Anyway, here goes my reply – quoted some of her response to contextualise the inferences of some of the statements

    ———

    Hi *name purposely deleted for this post*,

    Thank you for taking the time to message me back.

    If by your wording ‘manner in which our security searches were operated’ and ‘selection process’ you acknowledge that there was actually a probability of racial profiling, then I’d hope that you are proactive in raising this concern with the relevant managers (the probability of racial profiling), not the stop and search process as you mentioned, as I do not have a problem with these measures being put in place to prevent criminal behaviour. Neither do I have a problem with the supposed adequate training that the security team undergo; the whole point and conclusion of my letter rather, was to note that I am disappointed with the racial profiling that is occurring in the stop and search process happening at Thorpe Park.

    I understand you will not acknowledge racial profiling as being the case as you have been told ‘the security force are put through rigorous training in order to ensure they are performing their job role to their best ability….in addition to working extremely closely with the Surrey Police’. Unfortunately, as politically correct as this sounds, it assumes without fail that ‘staff follow all park regulations to the letter’ just because they are ‘trained’. This statement does not account for, or acknowledge any staff behaviour that does not adhere to training, which has been the case in previous instances where Thorpe Park have been taken to court due to it’s employees not performing their role according to their training (Sidhu v Aerospace Composite Technology Limited (1999). In this example (Sidhu v Aerospace Composite Technology Limited (1999), Thorpe Park was exposed for a racially aggravated assault where three Thorpe Park employees physically attacked an Indian man, leaving him with his head cut and his glasses broken. (http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/ltext/l0480006.htm.)

    Fortunately, my experience at Thorpe Park wasn’t as bad as Sidhu’s, but the irony is, the reply would probably be the same if I was Sidhu and had not taken Thorpe Park to court; you haven’t acknowledged any responsibility for any wrongdoing on Thorpe Park’s behalf, deflected my experience and others to my/their emotions (feeling ‘disappointed’) and excusing any activity on Thorpe Park’s security team in the name of ‘rigorous training’, ‘safety..security’ and involvement by the ‘Surrey Police’. A simple sorry and explanation that there will be measures put in place to ensure that this will not happen again is a lot more healing then defending with the argument of perfection (training/no flaw). It shows a lack of sensitivity and exposes the cracks even more.

    In addition to my experiences of this kind occurring whilst at Thorpe Park, there are also many other complaints made about Thorpe Park’s security team selecting Asians and ‘Blacks’ in their selection process. I came across the following blog on doing some research on the public perception of the Thorpe Park security team and came across countless detailed accounts of people observing or experiencing racial profiling – I’d like to suggest that the relevant managers, and yourself as a guest senior host, read through some of the comments from the general public who have have spotted major cracks in a security team that ‘follows all park regulations to the letter’. The blog is – http://www.alangandy.com/thorpe-park-security/#comments

    At the end of the day, I would not complain if there was nothing to complain about. You do have the power to sweep this incident under the carpet by defending Thorpe Park’s security team’s actions or not being vocal about such an on-going issue, but I’d hope that you see my intentions of not being malicious, but simply noting a bad practice that could eventually affect your family and others negatively. It could also help Thorpe Park prevent/avoid another unnecessary lawsuit.

    Regards,

    Luke

  • Anon says:

    As a member of Thorpe Park staff, I can tell you for a fact that the majority of our guests are Asian or black, therefore it’s likely that the majority of people going through security searches would be of that ethnicity. Also, they are more likely to be male as there are very few female members of staff and so if a female needed to be frisked then one of these few security members would have to do so.

    With regards to them not being cheery, that applies to a lot of people who work at Thorpe Park, myself included most of the time. At the end of the day, whether they work in entertainment or not, it’s work, which people rarely find enjoyable.

  • Luke says:

    Thanks ‘Anon’ for that supposed insight on the overall demographic of Thorpe Park. In my experience(s) however, all the people in the foyer apart from myself had a white complexion which exposes the trend (at that particular time) of just ethnic minorities being searched. Do you know if there is a quota to fill or would you say the selection process is truly random?

    Even whilst I ignored the lack of cheeriness, as a business owner in the service sector, cheeriness equates to customer service and I would not want any of my workers to think that just because it’s ‘work’, a job without personableness is a job well done. Mind you, on my visits to Thorpe Park, workers letting visitors onto rides always seemed to keep their spirits up, regardless of the monotonous work. A small voice says ‘there’s no excuse’.

    Ps. I’ve had a few more messages from the Thorpe Park security team but considering the case is not resolved, will wait to summarize it as to not fill up the forum with my experience (it may be helpful to someone however)

  • Bob says:

    What are they ment to do not pick anybody who is black or asian then?
    Takes the piss, I’m sure out of the hundreds of people that they do search the majoirty of people don’t complain and get on with it. If you don’t like the idea of getting searched then don’t go. It’s thier private property so they can do as they please. So I’d say get on with it and stop moaning or complaning that just because a few out of the so many hundred people that did get searched were black or asian that makes people racist?! Some of these comments are ridiculous.

  • Alan says:

    Slightly more than a little simplistic response. Have you ever thought of applying for a job there. My guess is you’d fit right in…. 🙂

  • Luke says:

    Hi Bob,

    I understand there are in excess of 90 comments and so I wouldn’t expect you to read through all of them, including mine which outlined that I had no problem with a random stop and search measure being put in place to combat criminal behaviour. Therefore I do not have a problem with not being searched.

    Having said that, I hope you read this comment, as the ignorance you exposed in your comment really shows an unawareness.

    I’m sure you know of the saying ‘try to walk a mile in my shoes’ – you’ll realise that I’m not paranoid and trying to play the ‘race card’ at any and every occasion.

    This is not the first time I’ve been selected at Thorpe Park, and considering my immediate social circle does include blacks/asians I know I am not just a one off in the ‘random’ selection process at Thorpe Park. If you do some research online like I have, you’ll see that the corroboration of independent witnesses in agreement of racial profiling of security forces (including Thorpe Park’s) would suggest that these ‘complaints’ are exposing activity that should be taken more seriously than a piss-take.

    I don’t know why there is this impression that there are loads of black/asians in this country, let alone the main demographic in Thorpe Park – statistics please? The trend of the majority of those being stopped and searched being black/asian is meaningful as they are still a minority and therefore in a random selection process, shouldn’t be the majority.

    It’s the equivalent of there being a random stop and search operation in India, yet the majority of those being ‘randomly’ picked are white. Look at the scale/ratio of those living in the UK (2010):

    86.9% White
    6.8% South Asian
    2.4% Black
    1.7% Mixed Race
    1.7% East Asian
    0.5% Other

    You’ll see that generally outside London, there’s the ‘only gay in the village’ feeling a lot of black/asian people feel when going out, and this is backed up with statistics, not your perception, so please correct me with credible evidence if you do choose to reply to this.

    It’s also funny that you note that I am moaning or complaining about it. Let me ask you some questions that’d put you in some scenarios that I have been in from random stop and searches from security forces; then we can see whether I should sit in silence when it happens again (and again).

    – Have you been stopped regularly, sometimes up to 3 times a day just to be checked for terrorist or illegal activity?

    – Have you ever been strip searched because you were suspected to have cannabis on you, even though you’ve had no run in with the police that would arouse suspicion and didn’t have any illegal substance on your person before they decided to ‘take you in’?

    – Have you been stopped and asked whether you have a job? Whether you had a driving license? How you afforded your car?

    – Have your brothers, your parents and grandparents told you stories how they were treated with the same suspicion and were ‘randomly’ stopped and searched, and are still, to this day? Despite no criminal records to verify the suspicion? (as was the case in TP and other security forces)

    – Have you had security forces use racial slur/abuse when addressing you?

    – (if you’re black) Have you been separated from your white family/friends and treated differently? (as was the case at TP)

    To ensure I stay on topic and don’t go into multiple anecdotes and biographical accounts of friends, family’s and generations before me, I’ll keep it really simple for you Bob: you have not experienced the harassment of these security forces in a capacity that makes you sympathetic, and in your world, do not know enough people that can educate you on the ‘darker’ side of some of the practices, such as institutional racism where people are taught via media that traits of blacks/asians are either involved terrorist activity, gang activity, opportunistic poverty stricken/working class, extremist religious individuals with illogical ideologies about life, failing at education, slang-talking, dysfunctional family living individuals who migrate here for the benefits or complaining/moaning without reason.

    Bob, educate yourself.

  • Alan says:

    Excellent and reasoned response Luke, sadly though I suspect it would fall on deaf ears should this ‘person’ come back to read it.

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  • Manchester says:

    Looks like Thorpe park has a serious management skills problems. You can do a thorough search with your clients without letting them feel intimidated and harassed.

  • anonny says:

    It has to be said that I think that this has gone a little too far…
    I will be completely honest; I have worked at Thorpe Park (and no it is not relevant whether I was a manager or which department I worked for as I have a good understanding of all of the park’s operations)

    Thorpe Park operates under Terms and Conditions of private property, when you purchase a ticket you agree to adhere to these terms and accept that if you breech them you will be asked to leave. This also means that the security team operate as per these terms – so they have not been required to have SIA licences to work on the premises, irrespective of cost. As it has been previously mentioned, the security team do under go their own training, and do have a good working relationship with Surrey Police, who often frequent the park for their own operations, to respond to incidents they have been called for and for the Fright Night period – to name a few. They too have witnessed the work that these individuals do on a daily basis and it has never been noted that anything should change regarding the way that they operate. It also has to be said at this point that Not Once has any security team member been sacked for poor performance or misconduct (or whatever other excuse you would like to come up with) within the time that this blog has been running and yes I can quite confidently express that I do know better in this matter!

    I am not here to discredit the inconvenience you have felt, as that is not my place, but I do however, find it hysterically hypocritical that most people with negative comments on here discriminate and judge the security staff in the same way they Complain to have been treated themselves. You know nothing about them as individuals and have no right to question their intelligence or personal traits.
    If you are entitled to your negative opinions of them then why is it so ‘frowned’ upon and individuals questioned when they have positive comments or appear to be on the side of the security team?

    Either way the security team are damned if they do and damned if they don’t and will be deemed to be wrong or racist or discriminating against somebody with their search procedure and I can guarantee that at least 1 person from every demographic category has complained about why they are being searched…. The issue is, they work by results. If they keep finding drugs and weapons and other prohibited items (such as alcohol by the way, it being a licensed premises) then they are going to continue. And yes as previously mentioned they also have targets to hit and statistics which managers review each year so whilst you may seem to have an understanding of the way they operate I can assure you that you don’t know as much as you seem to think. Also, as it has been pointed out, it would be impossible for a team so small to search up to 16,000 people a day, (including children I assume as they would be searching everyone?) unless people wanted to begin queuing in the small hours of the morning or only wanted to be in the park for an hour or so – a fact that is out of their control. The senior management decide how many positions are available in which departments so it should be them you are complaining to if you do not feel it is adequate to operate a fair procedure. Whilst they do work as part of the leisure industry, they are subject to high levels of abuse and condescension on a daily basis and just as much as you aren’t happy whilst being searched, they are not going to smile all day when being subject to such treatment either. You would be amazed at how many people are ‘stupid’ enough to try to conceal drugs in their wallets, bags, pockets, cigarette packets, bottles of drinks, in their socks…. The list goes on. They experience enough unpleasant items left in people’s bags than to want to have a good old snoop around through your personal possessions.

    The whole ride running at 2am is a complete joke, the security team would never be responsible for anything of the sort, for a number of reasons…. 1) no they are not on site at night, they are just as keen as the next person to go home after work and there is a separate security team that run the night operation. 2) the engineers often work late into the night to ensure that rides are fully operational for the following day which sometimes can include external contractors. 3) The security staff couldn’t operate the rides even if they wanted to as there are far too many security measures put in place to prevent anyone from just coming on site and ‘switching them on’.

    People have their good experiences and they have their bad, it just seems pointless getting so worked up about it on a blog – but that is just my opinion – doesn’t make it right.

    I would like to note that I have made no personal attack against anyone or what they have expressed on here. I have only written to offer a reflective insight regarding some of the comments that have been made, so would appreciate it if there were no petulant responses as I have previously seen, just because I am not here to follow suit and slag them off.

  • Trevor says:

    A person was ejected from Thorpe Park today for trying to enter while being in the possession of cannabis. The cannabis was confiscated by the staff. At the time there were no Police present.

    Do the staff have authority to confiscate a persons property, legal or otherwise?

    What measures are taken to ensure that the confiscated drugs are correctly processed to the right authorities?

  • Alan says:

    Interesting question!