Over the last 20 years SecuriCare have worked with a growing portfolio of clients to ensure that our training effectively prepares their staff for the realities of the work setting. One such scenario that staff can face is in the news today: when a crowd becomes a mob. The question is how should staff respond?

The incident in the press concerns a 25-man stag group who boarded a Jet2 flight which was leaving Prague destined for Glasgow. The group were kicked off the flight before take-off after allegedly displaying drunken behaviour and 'intimidating cabin crew with foul and abusive language'. Such a huge group present many changes for a small staff team.

A spokesperson for Jet2 released a statement to the Daily Mail: 'Jet2 last night offloaded a stag group of 25 males from its Prague to Glasgow flight due to their disruptive behaviour.  The decision was made to offload the rowdy group as they were boarding, due to their offensive attitude and continued use of foul and abusive language. Police were called to escort the party off the aircraft after some of the men reportedly became abusive and intimidating towards our cabin crew.'

The incident highlights that cabin crews, along with other public transport providers as well as the retail sector often serve groups of customer’s en-masse. Ordinarily these customers are passive recipients of the service and present no behaviour of concern, however they can coalesce if conditions are right and become ‘active’. This is when they begin to function as a collective unit, or ‘mob’. An expressive mob is a term used when a large group of people gather for an active purpose; i.e. to get their way e.g. gain access to alcohol or refunds

So what is happening?

Deindividuation is a theory which argues that in typical crowd situations, factors such as anonymity, group unity, and emotional arousal can weaken personal controls (i.e. guilt and shame). They do this by distancing the individual from their personal identities and reducing their concern for social approval or acceptance. This results in a reduction of forethought and a kind of risk blindness which can facilitate antisocial or even aggressive behaviour.  In essence people stop acting in personal and rational self-interest.

So, what can be done?

Adrian Pannett, Head of Disruptive Passenger Training at Securicare offers some advice, “First and foremost personal safety has to be considered when responding to a situation involving a group. Staff need to ensure their colleagues are aware of what’s happening. Something like the ‘contact and cover’ system is useful here. Then the aim would be to dissemble the group structure and get members to start functioning as individuals again. One technique is to ‘Throw out a hook’. That is to say ask one of the group a question that invites a logical response. This way you are engaging the rational rather than emotional brain. When going on to address or challenge what’s happening, staff should focus on the behaviour/problem and not on the individual themselves. They should outline the effect the behaviour is having and offer options or suggestions which can then be ownership of. Show respect and you will find reason can be contagious. If you can make progress you will begin to exert influence one person at a time. In turn these individuals can be used to regulate the behaviour of their peers. So a group who threaten to become a mob can be returned to a collection of individuals..” This and more is routinely covered on our courses. If you want to lknow more about how we can tailor a course for you just get in contact

Securicare have worked with airlines extensively over the past 20 years, and been at the leading edge of developing disruptive passenger management solutions. Click here to find out more about our ‘Preventing & Managing Disruptive Passenger Behaviour’ course, and our widely used ‘Disruptive Passenger Restraint System’

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: trainers@securicare.com or T: 01904 492442

Click for the full story of the incident The Mail