Downing Street has teams of armed police. Barack Obama has a small army of secret service agents with him. Even Harry Potter came up against some sort of many-headed dog/dragon/beast from hell in one of the early books/films.
Here at the Council we have Dave.
Okay, his name isn’t Dave, and there are more than one of him, but for the sake of argument and in the name of anonymity let’s call all of our security staff Dave and be done with it.
Dave generally does a stand-up job. Not a good one, mind you – he literally stands-up just inside the front doors. In theory his job is to stop each and every person who enters the building to make sure that they have official business there, and to ensure that nothing unsafe gets into the hallowed halls of power. Oh, and to stop people using the stairs of course…
Dave does this from first thing in the morning to last thing at night, swapping with other Dave’s for breaks and patrols. Dave must see hundreds if not thousands of people enter and exit the building every day, so effectively policing this many people must be a strain.
That being said, there are bare minimum standards that I would expect to be met, and one of those is the showing of ID cards. These little cards have the borough’s logo on it, along with a mug-shot and some basic contact details. Without it you can’t really get around inside the building as the majority of doors are security locked and need a swipe to get through.
Now, if you were to enter the building and show no form of ID at all you are always stopped and asked what your business is. Even if you have been going in and out of the same building for several years, and speak to Dave regularly you are still stopped and made to sign the visitors book if you can’t produce your sacred card.
If you walk in and flash a card – any card – at Dave he blithely nods and turns his attention elsewhere. I have forgotten my card more than once and have got past Dave with old ID cards, my colleagues ID cards (including those of a different ethnicity to me) – a colleague even regularly uses her library card from a different borough.
Come on Dave, earn your doughnut and obligatory good-night from me; check that ID! You never know who or what could be getting past your scrutiny, someone might even get in who wants to do some work!