Event Security Planning Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to:

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 •   Clearly define role and outline event organizer responsibilities for participant safety at an event

•   Assist event organizers with information on what to expect in a security plan

•   Assist event organizers by giving an understanding about what security firms need from an event organizer to provide effective security and crowd management for an event

•   Provide guidance on how to choose a provider, to define the different types of security staff and outline infrastructure to assist a safe event 

The general objective of an event safety plan is to:

•   provide a safe environment for staff and visitors

•   prevent the disruption of the event/services

•   protect property against damage or loss

A security plan is one component of a safety plan as it provides the resources, infrastructure and processes to provide the safe environment, prevent disruption and protect people and property.

Responsibility and role of an event organizer:

As an event organizer, you have a common law duty of care to ensure that those attending and affected by your event are safe and that your event venue is secure. It should be the responsibility of the event management process to identify risk and then priorities which areas of risk can be accepted, which need to be mitigated and who will be responsible for the mitigation of these risks.

Security:

Carry out agreed services as outlined by the event organizer, as approved by the venue operator and as contained within the security plan. Security firms must be registered with the Register Companies House, and if employees are known as security guards, they must have a SIA License.

Police:

The Police are usually able to advise on and support security measures.  As the organizer you are responsible for resourcing and managing for a safe environment at your event.

Security planning:

The security plan needs to be developed in conjunction with the event planning process. It is not formed in isolation and delivered to the event manager but must be developed under the clear direction of the event manager taking into consideration the identified risks, budget constraints and most importantly the minimum requirements for events as determined by your local authority.

What you will need to provide

To be able to provide you with an effective security plan, security companies will need event information such as:

•   Event name

•   Location (venue, event setup – structures)

•   Times (pack in, event, pack out)

•   Season (summer/winter)

•   Estimated crowd

•   Target audience

•   Previous areas of concern

•   Entertainment – type of music, programming of music (time frames, order)

•   Event history

•   Venue constraint not suitable to the type of event e.g. ticketed contemporary concert “Location” – very porous venues requiring full fencing

•   Knowledge of other events being held in the same locale on the same day

•   Intended future direction of event e.g. growth and measures that can be implemented or trialed year by year

•   Budget

Importance of the planning process

An agreed plan established prior to the event will enable a full agreed expectation of the security services. Where there are circumstances that arise from an event that compromise the core objectives of the plan there is a clear opportunity to ascertain how the issues arose which will be as a result of:

•   The plan being inappropriate or ineffective for the requirements of the event

•   The execution of the plan by the security provider being at fault

Without an agreed plan, the event management and security provider will find it difficult to clearly determining how or why adverse impacts to the event arose. If the event is highly successful, there is the risk of not being able to ensure that same strategies are applied next time and if it is unsuccessful of identifying what went wrong so it does not occur again.

The security plan – what to expect

The security plan should provide the following core components:

•   Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and requirements of the event (ensuring that the security plan does not obstruct the event objectives – e.g. if the event seeks to be open and accessible to the public and the security plan places tight restrictions or conditions on entry)

•   Objective of the security plan

•   Execution – how the security plan will be implemented detailing the roles and functions of the staff, locations, actions, escalation processes, emergency response requirements and all relevant information regarding conditions of entry, timings etc

•   Administrative processes which could include meals, briefing times, points of contact with the client, reporting processes.

•   Communication plans equipment requirements, site maps, key points of contact and staffing details including radio call signs etc.

Pre event

Pre event a security representative should attend any event planning and site meetings.  This ensures they are familiar with the key internal/external stakeholders and may learn new information about the event that would alter their planning.

A copy of the security plan should be provided to the Local Police Operations planning team. This may be done directly or through the Local Authority event facilitator assisting you with your event.

It is standard for security and crowd management firms to meet onsite 1-2 hours prior an event starting, to brief staff and ensure familiarity with the venue, event infrastructure and processes.

Post event

The event organizer should ask for a debrief summary to help with future planning and be available to attend any debrief meetings.  The debrief report should address their original plan, outline any specific incidents and suggest improvements for subsequent events.

What to expect in terms of price?

Security companies will have different levels of services that have different associated costs or hourly wages. Expect an hourly wage of a competent security guard from between £10 to £15 per hour

Costs may also be included for writing of the security plan, site visits, and time spent attending planning and debriefs meetings. Remember - you generally get what you pay for.

Safe event resources

The achievement of this safety plan may not always rely on the delivery of security services. For example, a safety plan may include fencing requirements, lighting, traffic management systems, provision of shelter, first aid facilities etc. 

A safe event can be made secure through planning in the following areas:

•   Pedestrian flow - exits/entrances/access ways

•   Type of music, entertainment

•   Alcohol controls - plastic bottles,

•   Infrastructure

 Type of waste management, recycling (glass/plastic)

 Height and type of fencing around licensed areas

 Barriers for front of stage areas

 Number of toilets, mobility impaired toilets, location and level of privacy

 Lighting in the area (do you need more?)

•   Availability of beverage and food vendors

•   PA system for promotional and MC messages

•   Formal lost children process

•   Dog control measures onsite and prior to event

•   Signage – directional (this way to first aid, toilets etc), warning of hazards

•   Meetings with key partners i.e. St John, waste management company

•   Formal traffic management plan – assist safe access in and around the event site

Choosing an event security provider

The security company you appoint should be able to provide appropriate staff for the type of event you are holding and should be available to speak to their plan to the Local Authority, Police or venue operator as required.

Security firms are professional specialist in their line of work. Trust their guidance, as they will want to work in a partnership with your event for future development and success. An unsafe event will look unprofessional for the organizer and the security firm. 

Security firms have different strengths. If you are holding a youth event ensure your provider has experience with youth gangs. If there is a licensed bar, a provider with this experience will be able to assist with safe planning and set up for the bar such as managing process for bag checks, identification and fencing which works best.

Qualifications to seek

Legislation - This is an Act to provide for the licensing of companies and security guards as a means of ensuring as much as possible that those carrying on business as security guards are fit and proper persons to do so, and to regulate the conduct of business by private investigators and security guards.

•   The Act states that no person shall be a security guard unless he/she is the holder of a SIA license for every class of the business being carried out. This means if someone is called a security guard they must hold a SIA License, and be employed by a registered company.

•   Security guards or event marshals/staff should be:

-    Professional in the way they assess any situation and take the appropriate actions

-    Have excellent communication skills – being able to communicate effectively will help resolve a potential issue

-    Well presented – appropriate for the type of crowd they will be interacting with

-    Experience in negotiation

-    Personable

-    Knowledgeable about dealing with the general public and the event.

Due to employment levels and the style of event security work, security firms have a high percentage of part times and student workers, this meaning that their key and full time staff may be registered SIA but casual staff "known as stewards" may not. This does not mean they are not appropriate for the role they will be fulfilling. You will need to discuss your specific needs with the provider so that you receive an appropriate outcome for your event.

Track record and how to establish this?

•   Security firms can give you references from current or past clients. It is important that you feel comfortable that they will implement your plan.

•   As the person taking primary responsibility for an event your reputation as an event organizer is also important. Once you are able to demonstrate that you have taken full responsibility for an event and successfully implemented an event plan, key stakeholders are more likely to support future plans.

Different types/style of crowd management staff

Your security plan can be resourced in a number of ways depending on the scale and nature of the event. These include:

•   Professional security organization in The UK, easily found through web searches and the Yellow

Pages

•   Community organizations such as the Oxfam. These types of organizations offer a different type of crowd management service in regards to local and cultural knowledge. Remember they are volunteers and are not likely to be the primary source of security. You will need to ensure they are properly briefed for their role at the event.

•   Assistance from local service groups such as fire departments, air force and army cadets may be able to assist.  A uniform can go a long way, and often they are trained in monitoring potential problems and defusing situations.

•   Check with your local constable, they may have details of other community groups who can assist you.

•   Youth liaison officer – with an increase in youth gang issues in the Local areas, local youth workers and community groups will bring specific local knowledge which may assist to prevent and reduce any possible incidents.

Role of volunteers

•   Volunteers should be treated as the event employees including providing basic employee provisions such as meals.

•   If they are being used in information or marshal capacity, they need to be provided with the appropriate equipment, uniform and training.

•   If a volunteer is not confident with customer service or conflict resolution then a crowd management role may not be appropriate for them.

Recommendations

•   Security providers should be registered with the Registrar of Private Investigators and Security

Services

•   Key security personal on site should have a SIA License

•   Security provider should be a member of the Security Industry Authority