In today’s world, it is considered of utmost importance for event organisers, stadium managers and venue operators to have the right level of security in place for the safety of their site, their grounds and their visitors. Many employ security personnel at all levels: from manned guarding and stewarding to crowd management and VIP safety control. Whether permanent, temporary or volunteer staff are used for these roles, a key consideration for organisers is to ascertain the necessary licences needed and to ensure that all those employed are correctly licensed in order to perform their roles safely and legally.
Security at Events - who needs a licence?
The requirement of a licence is generally determined by the role that is performed, the employment status of the individual in question and the country in which the event is taking place. In the UK, for instance, licensing requirements are determined under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. In general terms, it states that those individuals employed, or contracted in, to carry out licensable activities at an event or venue need a licence. Volunteers on the other hand, individuals who provide their services for free and receive no financial benefits, are not considered to be employees and therefore are not licensable. Other UK exemptions include in-house employees of certified sports venues and stadiums who carry out guarding duties at their stadium or venue workplace.
It can be a minefield to understand each and every detail involved in security and licensing, but here is a handy guide for all event planners.
Security at Events - the checklist:
- Through a risk assessment, ascertain the level of security that may be required at the event or venue. Consider crowd management, access control, perimeter and backstage security, patrol of public areas, securing hazards, car parking duties, health and safety issues etc.
- Liaise with local licensing authorities and police to discuss whether an event licence is needed and, if so, what level of security is legally required for the event
- Identify the employment status of individuals working at the event: in-house, contract, volunteer etc.
- Create job descriptions for all security personnel and ascertain whether licences may be required
- Ensure all personnel are familiar with the layout of the event site and able to assist the public where needed
- Consider giving staff an easily identifiable uniform to wear, for example hi-vis jackets for security staff
- Make stewards aware of the location of entrances and exits, first aid and fire‐fighting equipment and advise them of health and safety procedures
- Give all personnel a final briefing of their duties on the day of the event, particularly regarding emergency procedures
- And, where using a manned guard security provider:
- make contact as early as possible to discuss the security requirements for the event
- obtain assurances from the company to ensure that only appropriately licensed staff will be provided
- check whether individuals are licensed via the Register of Licence Holders (in the UK) or a country’s similar index
In addition to security personnel, it’s also important to keep event visitors safe with specially designed security buildings and police control units. To maintain the security of events and venues, and provide assured standards of safety for visitors, security and police control units should be located throughout the site. A visible and effective security presence can help to prevent any security problems and deal swiftly with all incidents that may occur.
A final point: It is important for all event organisers and venue managers to get in touch with their national security industry authority to understand and abide by their own country’s laws and requirements. With regards to events in the UK, for example, more detailed information can be found on The Security Industry Authority (SIA) website, the organisation responsible for regulating the UK’s private security industry.