Event security planning in the UK and across Europe is a crucial aspect of organising any large-scale event. It is essential to ensure the safety and security of attendees, performers, staff, and the venue itself. With recent rises in security incidents at public events, it’s becoming increasingly important to plan and implement comprehensive security measures to minimise the risk of an incident.

Event organisers must carefully consider all aspects of event security, including how many security guards for an event, the training and qualifications of the security personnel, and the development of a comprehensive security plan. By taking the necessary steps to plan and implement adequate security measures, event organisers can minimise the risk of harm to those involved and ensure that their event is successful.

Titan Security Europe has been at the forefront of event security provision for more than three decades, with international experience in managing security for important conferences like the United Nations COP 26 Climate Change Conference, large music events like Glastonbury, and a recent political conference in Romania.

In producing this guide to event security planning, we are answering some of the event security questions that are most often asked, including:

  • How many security guards per person for an event in the UK
  • How many security guards per person for an event in Europe
  • How many security guards per square foot in the UK
  • How many security guards per square metre in the EU
  • How to find out and comply with licensing laws nationally and at the local level
  • How to prepare a comprehensive security plan covering the specific needs of an event
  • Training for event security guards
  • Special considerations when alcohol is available at an event
  • Event security planning for political events and high-profile conferences

If you need a cheat sheet or checklist to help you plan event security, you can find three at the bottom of this post. One for large public events, another for smaller corporate or private events with fewer than 100 attendees, and one to help you with risk assessment.

These are free downloads with no registration needed. So please read on to get yours.

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Event Security Considerations

Most events will go off without a hitch, but basing your security on an assumption like this is nothing short of negligence and in many ways planning to fail. So let’s take a look at a list of the worst-case scenarios that must be taken into consideration when undertaking a threat assessment.

1. Fire

2. Natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods, or tornados)

3. Bomb threat

4. Active shooter scenarios

5. Medical emergencies and injuries

6. Chemical spill or gas leak

7. Power failure or blackout

8. Civil unrest or violence

9. Terrorism

10. Severe weather conditions (such as extreme heat or cold)

11. Crowd surges and overcrowding

CBRN terrorism threats in Europe.

According to the recent EUROPOL TE-SAT reports, there is a general increase in terrorist propaganda on using CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear) threats, along with online tutorials on how to carry out these attacks.

Most, if not all of the above will require some sort of emergency evacuation, which makes evacuation preparation one of the most important aspects of event security.

Evacuation Procedures for Public Events

Emergency evacuation procedures are an important component of event security planning. They outline the steps to be taken in the event of an emergency or potential danger. It is essential that event organisers have well-planned and effective evacuation procedures in place to ensure the safe and efficient evacuation of attendees, performers, staff, and others present at the event.

Here are some key aspects of producing an evacuation plan for public events:

1. Pre-Event Planning

  • Identify all potential emergency scenarios, including fire, natural disasters, and security threats.
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the event venue and surrounding areas to identify potential evacuation routes and assembly points.
  • Plan and communicate evacuation routes to attendees, staff, and emergency services, including clear signage and emergency lighting.
  • Conduct emergency evacuation exercises to test your evacuation plans
  • Ensure that all staff are trained in emergency procedures and are able to assist in the event of an evacuation.

2. During the Event

  • Establish a clear command structure for emergency response and evacuation procedures.
  • Assign designated personnel to monitor the event for potential emergency scenarios and to coordinate the evacuation effort.
  • Ensure that all attendees are aware of the location of emergency exits and assembly points.

3. After the Event

  • Review and evaluate the evacuation procedures and make any necessary modifications for future events.
  • Debrief event security staff on their performance during the evacuation.
  • Collect feedback from attendees on the evacuation procedures to identify areas for improvement.

Effective evacuation procedures are a number one priority. Event organisers must carefully plan, evaluate and implement them. By developing adequate evacuation procedures, event organisers can both minimise the risk of harm and ensure the success of their event.

Meeting European Event Licensing Laws

The EU’s security regulations for events are primarily set out by the European Commission, and aim to provide a framework for ensuring the safety and security of attendees and participants at large-scale public events. Some of the EU’s key guidelines and recommendations for event security include:

  1. Threat assessments: Event organisers should conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential security threats and take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.
  2. Emergency planning: Event organisers should have robust emergency plans in place to manage any security incidents that may occur, including clear procedures for evacuation and response to crises.
  3. Security personnel: Adequate security personnel trained to handle all types of potential security incidents should be in place at events.
  4. Physical security measures: Event organisers should implement physical security measures, such as access control, perimeter security, and surveillance systems, to help prevent security incidents.
  5. Information sharing: Event organisers should work with local authorities, security services, and other stakeholders to share information and coordinate efforts to ensure the security of events.

It is important to note that while the EU provides guidelines for event security, individual EU member states and even regional or local authorities within them may have their own specific regulations and requirements that must be met.

Event organisers should familiarise themselves with the relevant security guidelines and requirements in their location by setting up strong liaison channels with regional government, local statutory services and other security stakeholders.

One of the most important factors to clarify is the provision of security guards and crucially, how many security guards you need for your event.

Determining the Number of Event Security Guards

How many security guards do I need for an event? This is a difficult area to address properly. There is no hard and fast rule when trying to establish how many security guards per person or per square foot for an event in the UK or how many security guards per person or per square metre for an event in Europe.

This is because the number of security guards required depends on various factors, including:

  • Size of the event
  • Type of event
  • Location of the event
  • Expected number of attendees
  • Whether or not alcohol is available

For example:

  • A concert or sporting event with a large crowd will require more security guards than a smaller business conference or trade show.
  • Events that are more likely to attract disruptive crowds or protests, such as political rallies or conferences, may require more security.
  • Events, where alcohol is available, may also require more security guards

But is it possible to take a general rule of thumb on how many security guards are needed for an event and then weigh it against a threat assessment that you conduct as part of your security preparation and planning and if so what would be a good starting point?

Number of Security Guards per Square Meter

A general rule of thumb is to have one security guard for every 10-15 square meters of event space. This should be increased for events with large crowds or those with the type of energy that is more likely to attract disruptive behaviour.

It is also worth remembering that squeezing large numbers of people into a small venue can also increase the risk of an incident.

Number of Security Guards per Attendee

The standard recommendation is to have one security guard for every 100 attendees. This is a guideline and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the event.

As an example, a concert with an expected crowd of 10,000 people may require 100-150 security guards

Allowing for Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol in moderation is an effective social lubricant but when over-intoxication occurs it can present both a security and a safety issue.

You will need to plan for the fact that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to:

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Vulnerability
  • Physical injuries and problems such as vomiting and alcohol poisoning

So when alcohol is available at an event it is essential to take this into account during security planning. One of the main factors to determine is if increasing the ratio of security guards is needed

Here are a few ways event security can be adjusted to accommodate the availability of alcohol:

  1. Increased security personnel: More security personnel may be necessary to manage the potential increase in disruptive behaviour that can occur when alcohol is consumed.
  2. Sobriety checks: Sobriety checks can be conducted at entry points to the event to ensure attendees are not excessively intoxicated.
  3. Identification checks: ID checks can be conducted to verify that attendees are of legal drinking age and prevent minors from accessing alcohol.
  4. Designated drinking areas: Designated drinking areas can be established to monitor alcohol consumption and prevent over-intoxication.
  5. Alcohol management policy: An alcohol management policy should be developed and communicated to all event attendees to outline expectations for responsible alcohol consumption.
  6. Rapid response plan: A rapid response plan should be in place to address any incidents that may occur due to alcohol consumption, including medical emergencies and disruptive behaviour.
  7. Training for security personnel: Security personnel should receive training in how to handle incidents that may occur as a result of alcohol consumption, such as fights or disorderly conduct.

It is important to remember that alcohol consumption can significantly impact the security of an event, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure the safety of all attendees.

Training and Qualifications of Security Personnel

Security guards must be trained in:

  • Crowd management
  • First aid
  • Emergency evacuation response
  • Risk assessment

Read more about the qualities of a good security guard and security guard training

Security personnel should also be properly equipped with the necessary communications equipment and anything else they might need to perform their duties effectively.

In the UK, the minimum levels of training required for security guards are set out by the Security Industry Authority and in Europe by the European Commission

Developing a Comprehensive Event Security Plan

Event organisers must also develop a comprehensive security plan to cover all aspects of event security, including:

  • Management of crowds
  • Access control
  • Emergency response
  • Evacuation procedures

This plan should be developed in consultation with local law enforcement agencies, emergency services, and security experts. Here we outline some key elements to be considered when planning event security:

1. Crowd Management

Effective crowd management is a critical aspect of event security planning. By using a combination of crowd control barriers, crowd management planning, sectioning, communication, and training, event organisers can minimise the risk of harm and ensure the safety and security of all attendees.

  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the event space and surrounding areas to identify potential crowd-related incidents.
  • Develop a crowd management plan that outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of an incident, including crowd control and evacuation procedures.
  • Assign designated personnel to monitor the event and manage the crowd, including security personnel and first responders.

2. Sectioning

  • Divide the event space into smaller, manageable sections to reduce the risk of overcrowding and improve crowd control.
  • Assign designated personnel to manage each section, including monitoring the flow of people and managing any incidents that may arise.
  • Clearly define the boundaries of each section and ensure that attendees are aware of the designated entry and exit points for each section.

3. Communication

  • Establish clear communication channels between event staff, security personnel, and first responders.
  • Ensure that all attendees are aware of the emergency procedures, including the location of emergency exits and assembly points.
  • Provide regular updates and announcements regarding the status of the event and any potential incidents.
  • Ensure that key emergency evacuation points and routes are clearly signed and illuminated if necessary

4. Use of Technology in Event Security

Technology has become an integral part of event security. It might include the use of surveillance, advanced ticketing systems, QR codes, and communications equipment. So let’s take a closer look at commonly used event security technology.

a) Surveillance Technology

Surveillance technology, such as CCTV cameras and drone cameras, can be used to monitor events and detect any potential threats. These cameras can be integrated with facial recognition software to quickly identify individuals who may pose a threat to security. This technology can also be used to monitor crowd behaviour, which can be valuable in anticipating and preventing incidents before they become a problem.

b) Ticketing Systems

Advanced ticketing systems that use apps and QR codes have become increasingly popular in event security. This technology can help to reduce the risk of ticket fraud, as attendees are required to show their digital tickets for entry. QR codes can be scanned using mobile devices, which can help to move attendees through the entry process quicker and reduce the risk of bottlenecks.

c) Communications Equipment

In any event security scenario, effective communication is critical. In order to ensure that security personnel can communicate effectively, it is important to have access to reliable communication equipment, such as walkie-talkies, 2-way earpieces, or mobile phones. With this equipment, security measures can be coordinated and problems dealt with quickly and effectively.

d) Handheld Detector Wands

These devices are small, portable metal detectors that when waved across the torso, will detect hidden metal objects like weapons or contraband and sound an audible warning signal. Some use advanced ferrous detection that is more sensitive than metal detecting and will also detect mobile phones, explosive jackets, and computer equipment. This makes them ideal for conducting quick security scans as attendees funnel through a security checkpoint and for sweeping the venue before an event. The latest models come in the form of wearable mitts for added convenience.

Physical Security Measures

  • The use of physical barriers, such as barricades or fences and turnstiles, can help to clearly define the boundaries of an event space and control the flow of people.
  • They can also be used to determine at which point you will conduct security checks. For example, would your checkpoint be at the perimeter of the venue as would be necessary for an open-air event or the entrance doors as might be possible for an indoor event?

Site-Specific Training

  • Provide site-specific training to event staff and security personnel on crowd management techniques, evacuation, and emergency procedures.
  • Regularly conduct emergency drills and exercises to test the effectiveness of the crowd management plan and evacuation procedures.

Special Considerations for Political Events and Conferences

Political events and conferences may include world leaders and high-profile politicians. They may also attract protesters, extremists and potential terror attacks. These additional factors should be taken into account with a thorough risk assessment and a comprehensive security plan to mitigate them. The goal is always to ensure the safety and security of all attendees, speakers, and staff.

Potential security risks at a political conference

  1. Threats to high-profile political figures and VIPs including kidnap and assassination attempts
  2. Terrorism, including the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
  3. Physical security threats, including theft, vandalism, and property damage.
  4. Crowd-related incidents, such as stampedes or disruptions.
  5. Protest-related incidents, including demonstrations and riots.
  6. Infrastructure failures, such as power outages or communications disruptions.
  7. Sabotage or malicious attacks on event facilities, equipment, and infrastructure.

Free Event Security Checklists

You are welcome to download any of the free event security checklists below. These are available without registration or obligation

Small Event Security Checklist

Download PDF

Large Event Security Checklist

Download PDF

Risk Assessment Checklist

Download PDF

Summing Up Event Security Planning

Event security planning is a critical aspect of organising any large-scale event. The number of security guards required per square meter and per attendee number is an important factor in meeting European and UK event licensing regulations and ensuring the safety of those in attendance.

Event organisers must carefully consider all aspects of event security, including the number of security guards, the training and qualifications of the security personnel, and the development of a comprehensive security plan.

By taking the necessary steps to plan and implement adequate security measures, event organisers can help to minimise the risk of harm to those involved and ensure the success of their event.

Event Security Case Studies

Protecting the First Minister of Scotland  

On the 25th of October, 2021, Scotland’s First Minster – Nicola Sturgeon, delivered a keynote speech ahead of the COP26 conference, at the University of Strathclyde. Our goal was to ensure the event ran smoothly, that all security measures were in place to prevent any security breach and to prepare security procedures in the event of any security disturbance.  
What We Did 

To ensure the event ran smoothly and safely we carried out two key steps.  
Step 1 – Access Control  
Access control was performed by our security guards, in order to verify the credentials of those entering the stage area. In addition, they conducted bag inspections for all attendees, and looked for anything inappropriate that could enter the venue. Alcohol, narcotics, guns, explosives, and anything else that may be deemed a security danger fell under this category. 
Step 2 – Perimeter Control 

We assigned our security guards around key areas during the presentation. They were there to ensure the safety of the speaker and the audience members in case of an emergency, and to make sure that any person going on stage was in fact a keynote speaker. In addition, our security guards were familiar with fire regulations and knew how to evacuate individuals from the venue quickly if needed. They also kept an eye on attendees for any signs of suspicious behaviour that may lead them to intervene before anything happens.  


Titan Security has maintained a security presence during the Glastonbury festival for many years. This is a challenging and varied security role, and at times we have supplied teams of more than 20 security guards to manage security at Glastonbury. Our role at festivals includes access control, crowd monitoring, and the general safety of visitors, performers, and staff on the site.

Titan is a leading event security provider across Somerset, and festival season is always particularly busy. Our guards are centrally managed by a 24-hour control room, and 24-hour coverage is maintained through our advanced rostering software systems.

Get in touch via our contact form if you need top-flight professional security for an event