security portal with tailgate detection

Secure facilities: The ins and outs of tailgating

Tailgating: a physical security breach in which an unauthorised individual follows an authorised user to enter a secured premise.

Tailgating is one of the most common security breaches faced by gyms and leisure facilities. It can be unintentional, tied to acts of common courtesy like holding a door open for someone, or deliberate, where an unauthorised person might try to slip in undetected for criminal or other nefarious purposes.

The costs for your business can be high.

In addition to loss of revenue through people accessing your facility without paying, other costs might include theft, vandalism or destruction of assets and equipment, as well as physical threats to staff and gym users. It can also be a risk for emergency scenarios, where you could be working with an inaccurate head count.

So, what can be done about it?

When it comes to tailgating, not all security solutions are created equal and the solution that best fits your building will depend on many factors, including the specific entry point you want to secure and its layout, the reason for controlling access, and budget.

We discuss two of the most effective solutions below.

Tailgating detection

Tailgating detection solutions include products such as Centaman Entrance Control’s Door Detective.

Door Detective creates an infra-red field across a door way to monitor people entering and leaving. It works in conjunction with your access control system to verify whether a user is authorised or unauthorised.

These types of solutions provide a low-level deterrent and will alert you to tailgating incidents, but they won’t prevent them. At least not on their own.

Solutions offering tailgating detection typically require staffing in order to respond to, and stop, tailgating as it’s happening, and require integration with more comprehensive security systems such as CCTV.

However, they have a smaller footprint than tailgating prevention solutions, which means they can easily be fitted to most entry points, regardless of available space and layout. They have a faster throughput, making them more practical for high-traffic access points. Solutions such as Door Detective also have less impact on users, as they are virtually invisible to them during normal use.

It’s also worth considering that while they typically cost less to purchase up front, the ongoing operational costs of tailgating detection solutions are higher than for tailgating prevention solutions.

These might include the need to staff access points, time and resource to respond to incidents, loss of productivity and disruption should an incident arise, and for the likes of leisure facilities, where access is on a user pays basis, loss of revenue. There may also be additional costs associated with integration with a more comprehensive security system, such as CCTV.

Tailgating prevention

Tailgating prevention solutions, such as Centaman Entrance Control’s security portal range, make it virtually impossible for an unauthorised person to gain access to your building.

They are ideal for unmanned entrances and provide a greater level of security than traditional turnstiles or speedgates.

Security portals work by closing the door behind a person as they enter the portal. Once the door is closed, the anti-tailgating system checks only one person is in the portal. Any other relevant security checks can also be undertaken at this time. Once the checks have been passed, a second door opens to let the authorised person into the secure area.

However, there are some downsides. Their throughput is generally lower than tailgating detection-only solutions. They also tend to cost more up front. Their size can also make them an impractical solution for some building layouts and spaces.

Clear benefits of tailgating prevention solutions include reduced revenue leakage and increased membership, as people will have to join to use facilities, rather than being able to tailgate behind an authorised user; ensuring a safe environment for people using your gym or leisure facility, particularly outside normal hours; and greater peace of mind for you.

For more information about tailgating detection and prevention security solutions offered by Centaman Entrance Control, view the Products section of our website.