man running across car park

The consequences of tailgating

You complete your commute and arrive at work with a few minutes to spare. Having found a space in the car park, you grab your belongings and make a dash across the rainy courtyard to the front door. You’re carrying a shoulder bag, a mobile phone in one hand and your lunch in the other. Where’s your key fob?

Luckily, someone approaches the door before you. They swipe their fob and open the door to the building. You briefly think about pausing to rummage through your bag to find your fob, but then your momentum carries you through the open door, which your colleague kindly holds open for you.

No alarms sounded, so that’s ok, surely?


This scenario is all too common and presents the security threat known as tailgating – also known as piggybacking – which is the act of following someone through an open access-controlled door unauthorised. The follower is the one at fault, even if there is no intent to deceive or cause harm, and the person being followed may not even be aware of the act.

If you are an authorised user though, and you simply didn’t use your fob to gain access on that one occasion, surely there’s no harm done, right?

Later that day there’s a fire drill and you’re a little confused when the fire marshal doesn’t call your name from the roll call printout whilst you’re at the assembly point with the rest of your colleagues. Obviously, you don’t mention anything.

Because you tailgated into the building this morning, the access control system didn’t register your arrival, the fire system didn’t put you on the roll call, the payroll system has recorded you as absent, and the building management system can’t make an accurate assessment of the building’s occupancy so can’t adjust the power to optimum levels.

So tailgating isn’t OK, after all.

Let’s assume now that the building owners, or maybe your employers, have installed an anti-tailgating system – such as Fastlane turnstiles – to the building entrance. You would have felt more obliged to rummage through your pockets and find that elusive fob to gain access. Without it, the Fastlane turnstiles wouldn’t have allowed you in and, should you have attempted to tailgate behind another employee, alarms would have sounded, alerting the security guards and perhaps prompting the CCTV system to record your unauthorised entry attempt, leaving you red-faced in front of a crowd of your colleagues.

Remember, these systems are there to ensure that only the people that are authorised to enter a building get in safely, securely and trouble-free. They are not designed to be a hindrance.

Think of it another way. Because you used your access credentials to gain access, the lift destination controller recognises you and can guide you to the most convenient lift, saving you time which even allows you to grab a coffee on the way to your desk.

The fire system also knows you have entered the building so that, if the unimaginable happens, the fire brigade will know to look for you. The HVAC system knows you are here too, so can adjust the building systems to suit.

It isn’t big brother – it’s all there for your safety and convenience.

Let us assess your threat of tailgating, contact us today for an appointment – call +44 (0)208 890 5550 or email