A Guide to Event Security
When planning a large event, the organiser is tasked with a huge amount of responsibility. Many different threads need to come together to make the event successful.
One of those threads and perhaps the most important is planning for event security and engaging the right security contractor. After all, there is nothing more important than making sure the safety of the people attending your event is taken care of. None of us will forget the Manchester Arena bombing or the devastating consequences and loss of life that occurred on that day.
Detailed planning for event security is crucial and not something to be undertaken by the inexperienced. In this blog post from Titan Security Europe, we intend to share our approach to event security planning and provide some detail of the main considerations based on over 3 decades of supplying comprehensive event security services throughout the UK and across Europe.
Before the Event
As a security company, preparing the security aspects of a large event starts days if not weeks before the event takes place. Liaising with the event organiser to prepare and agree on a strategic plan that looks at all aspects is important work.
The aim is to have a set of emergency incident protocols covering things like terrorism, serious crime, anti-social behaviour, medical emergency, missing persons, equipment failure and loss of communications in place before the event. These should then be shared with all staff members (security and non-security personnel).
Here are some of the main points to consider in the run-up to a large event:
1. Putting a Security Team Together
Making sure your team includes experienced event security personnel and supervisors with all of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) accreditation in place that qualifies them to work as a security guard at a public event is always important. Using personnel in roles that they are not licensed to carry out is breaking the law.
Event security falls under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and the type of accreditation required for various roles is dictated by the provisions contained within the Act. The event organiser may liaise with regional SIA interventions office for extra support and guidance.
Ideally, you would use multi-role accredited staff who are able to undertake a range of licensable activities. You would also be looking to have your team in place well before the event. It might be that the team will need to visit the venue for familiarisation long before the event takes place.
It is possible to include unlicensed staff in your team, but their role is restricted to strictly a stewardship role. Unlicensed staff are able to carry out the following duties:
- Directing spectators to seating areas by checking tickets
- Providing safety advice and assistance
- Customer care duties including directing attendees to refreshments, toilet and first aid facilities
- Ensuring gangways and exit/evacuation routes are kept clear for health & safety purposes
- Providing assistance with evacuation procedures in the event of an emergency including liaising with representatives of the emergency services
- Providing guidance and direction to visitors arriving by car or on foot, including the management of roadway crossings to ensure the safe passage of visitors.
2. Pre-Event Venue Inspection, Risk Assessment and Security Audit
When conducting a pre-event inspection the aim is to get an overall picture of the situation and the layout. Here are some of the most important aspects:
- Defining the perimeter: The perimeter is the defining edge of the venue. If the venue has enclosed parking facilities this may be considered the outer perimeter. The point at which cars enter perhaps at a barrier or gate could be used as your first access control point. The point at which you are checking that authorised people only are allowed entry. If there is no enclosed or dedicated parking, the building itself might be considered your perimeter. Ensuring that all entranceways other than the main points of access are inaccessible and setting up your access control at the official entrances gives you control over who is entering the event.
- Event timetable: In most cases, event security is about more than just the period of time during which the event is running. Often, security will be required during setup and take-down. Events like festivals and concerts may need security cover for some time perhaps even days before it s due to start.
- Access control: Access control is where you will check credentials/tickets, carry out inspections and searches for anything undesirable entering the venue. This might include alcohol, drugs, weapons, explosives, and anything else that could be considered a security threat.
- Venue layout: You will be making a survey of all entrances and exits, fire doors, and fire escapes. Ensuring that thoroughfares are well defined and clearly marked, entry/exit areas are clear and accessible for staff and expected attendees, and emergency exits adequate. Much of this information will be available from the event organiser but will help you to devise your security strategy. Becoming familiar with rooms, corridors, and potential hiding places all contributes to devising and executing an effective security strategy that anticipates potential threats and serves to eliminate them before they can occur.
- Crowd Monitoring and Control: During your visit, you will establish your crowd monitoring and control measures. Will this be overt or discreet? Where are the best vantage points to station your personnel? Will you be using assisted surveillance like CCTV coverage and if so identifying where to place the cameras for total coverage.
- Communications: To work as a cohesive unit, your security and supervisory team will need to be in constant communication. Making sure you have the right communication systems and equipment in place and/or some form of centralised control room is something that should be planned during these pre-event stages.
3. Liaising with Local Authorities and Statutory Agencies
Many large events will involve statutory agencies. You may be required to become party of a multi-agency planning team including the police, the fire brigade and medical professionals.
In all cases you should be establishing contact points within these agencies and clearly understanding where your responsibilities for event security interact with the responsibilities of the statutory agencies and in what circumstances you will be required to involve them.
4. Counter Terrorism
Over recent years the terrorist threat level has been significantly higher than previously. The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) offers guidance to event organisers and security staff on using security to prevent future attacks.
As part of the risk assessment for any event, the guidance offered by NaCTSO in their series of publications should be considered and applied during event security planning. All SIA Approved Contractors must be able to show that they have introduced measures to improve staff awareness of the threat from terrorism.
After the Event
As the lead security contractor, when an event is over you will be wanting to conduct a thorough review and debrief. Initially liaising with the event organiser or the multi-agency safety oversight group and later internally with your security team.
You will be looking for what went well and also areas that could be improved upon. Perhaps the event is a recurring one that will be repeated on a regular basis. A thorough and honest review puts your security company in a good position should you be reappointed to provide security for future events.
Within your own security team you will be conducting a review looking at overall performance, individuals that stood out and where further training needs to be provided.
You should examine any incidents that occurred and the outcomes. Were they handled successfully and well or were there areas that can be analysed in more detail and improved upon? Are there areas where staff could benefit from further training? Most important of all, was the event safe and secure for those attending?
Event Security Summary
Providing security for a large public event is a multi-faceted role and one where there is no room for complacency. From the outset, it is important to approach your event security planning as if an incident will happen rather than an incident is unlikely to happen. In this way you come to the project fully committed and ready to plan for any eventuality.
Contact Titan Security Europe
If you need a highly experienced security company to take care of security for your event, look no further than Titan. We have highly trained and dedicated security personnel who know what they are doing when it comes to event security. We have been leading providers of this type of security for over 3 decades.
If you would like an informal discussion, a security audit or a quote for security at your event please do not hesitate to use the contact details throughout the site to get in touch and let is know what you need and how we can help.
Read more about our event security services HERE