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Four Seasons security director brings hospitality industry together

Security directors at Vancouver hotels are bringing their collective knowledge together with community police officers to stay better informed about incidents happening in and around their downtown properties.

The Vancouver Hotel Security Association (VHSA ) had its first meeting in June and is attended by security managers and those responsible for security from hotels in Vancouver. The idea is to share and communicate information regarding thefts, fraud, and other crimes to prevent similar problems occurring at other properties.

"Local community police participation, and communication to members in regards to known offenders forms the back bone of this initiative," says Clive Hamdorff, director of security with the Four Seasons in Vancouver. “The idea is to share information of what’s happening in Vancouver and we hope to extend out to the airport as well.”

"I discovered in 2006 that the hotel directors’ association had disbanded and there wasn’t a focus for hotels and I felt there was a need for hotels to communicate with each other more," he says. "The Olympics are obviously coming up and that is something that wil have certain security issues looked at and addressed but we are primarly focused on issues and information regarding hotels."

“One of our goals is to also keep people up-to-date on new technology. We meet for about an hour and will be bringing in speakers to present on topics such as CCTV to give everyone an update on how systems are changing rapidly."

There are about 25 members but he hopes that will increase as additional properties open in the Vancouver area as there are a number of luxury hotel brands coming to Vancouver including the recently announced Ritz-Carlton, the 61-storey Shangri La in 2008, a new Fairmont Hotel on the waterfront and a boutique hotel called the Loden Vancouver. A new convention centre is also being constructed.

Hamdorff came to Canada in 1991 and was manager of security for the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre ”“ now the Vancouver Trade and Exhibition Centre — and was there for seven years, responsible for security at events held at the site.

“When I was there I was connected with an organization called Operation Co-operation and it works alongside the police and business communities to share information. Alongside that was the security hotel organization at the time,” says Hamdorff.

He later organized the Whistler Hospitality and Loss Prevention Association, a similar security information sharing group for the hotels in Whistler when he was at the Westin Resort and Spa, involving local businesses, the RCMP, and fire departments.

The organization was created to bring together managers in the hospitality industry, who share information regarding loss prevention and general security concerns.

 Hamdorff says Const. David Bierley from the Vancouver City Police is an important component in the new security group in terms of providing additional communication to the Association.

"Dave also runs the PROPERTYCOP program in Vancouver which is being supported by chief constables across Canada," says Hamdorff. “There is police involvement with the community police," he says.

The group meets every third Thursday and meeting locations rotate to the various member hotels.

“That way everyone can see the different ideas the other security directors have put in place," says Hamdorff.