Event Security Standards

Tony Security Leave a Comment

What companies have to do supply security staff to an event.

Event security contractors have been under the remit of PSA licencing since 2014 and as such they have to abide by the PSA39:2014 quality standards. This means that they have to pass an annual audit encompassing very similar stuff to what a guarding or door company has to have in place. However in addition to those criteria there are a number of event specific documents that are required. Documents such as an event specific security management plan, risk assessment and briefing documents which in my experience are often not done correctly or done at all. It’s these documents that will be the subject of this article.

What does the standard say?

The particular part of the PSA 39:2014 that I’m referring to here is Section 6. It deals with Operations and outlines the documents that MUST be in place at each and every event worked and must be specific to that event. These documents include:

1. The event risk assessment (security specific)

2. The security management plan

3. Security briefing

4. Security roles and ratios

While this sounds like quite a large workload for security managers it doesn’t have to be. The standard says that if the overall event management plan and risk assessment compiled by the client already has this then all or part of it can be used to form the security documents. This should make it easier if the client has a good EMP and safety plan but it doesn’t absolve the security providers from compiling these documents.

Security Management Plan

This is the biggest and most important of the documents required. It’s event specific and has to be present on site for the whole event. It also has to be communicated to all stakeholders for the event. Its contents must include:

1. The name and contact details for the Event Controller and Security Manager.

2. The event risk assessment and risk controls (more on this later) .

3. Number of security staff and their duties. This includes pit crews, access control teams,bar security, mobile patrols perimeter security etc.

4. The assignment instructions and SOP’s for the site.This has to include procedures for things like access control, removals, searches, VIP areas etc.

5. An escalation procedure for security related events.

6. A detailed plan of the site divided into zones for security. Each zone must be allocated a dedicated (named) security supervisor.

7. Contact details for key contact people within the security function, client and all of the relevant emergency services.

8. Communications equipment, procedures and allocation.

9. Incident reporting guidelines and instructions

10. Security plans for high risk areas such as backstage, vehicles, restricted areas.

11. Daily registers of all security staff and their positions.

12. Fire safety and health and safety procedures

13. Staff welfare arrangements

14. Pre-event briefing document

15. An attendance register for the pre-event document countersigned by each attendee.

Like I mentioned earlier some of this stuff will already be contained in the clients EMP but the security contractor must also have them in their document.

Event Security Risk Assessment

Each event should have its own security specific risk assessment. Now every event will (or at least should have) a risk assessment but this isn’t a security specific risk assessment. The security risk assessment should include the identification of hazards for each security role within the event and a risk control plan for each role. Not every position needs a risk assessment on its own but each role does.

This might sound like a large undertaking but once you have a good template it s very straightforward.

Security zones

Every event should be broken into zones and every zone must have a designated and named Event Supervisor.

Security briefing

A security specific briefing for each event is mandatory. The briefing must be given to every Event Supervisor and they must be handed a written copy of the briefing along with a site map. Each event supervisor must sign an attendance register for the briefing and this register has to be kept with the Security Management plan. The Event Supervisors must then brief all of the staff in their zone of responsibility.

Event Security staffing

The clients event management plan will ultimately guide the number of secirity staff on site however the PSA do state that there must be a minimum of 1 licenced door supervisor for every 250 people at a seated area and 1:100 at all other areas of the event. I’m pretty sure that not many event controllers are aware of this. The PSA say that where there is less than this number there is an obligation on the Event Controller to justify this in the risk assessment.

Command and Control

There are a few documents that are required at every event. I won’t go into all of the C&C details here, just the basics. A security control log must be maintained throughout the event where communications, incidents and requests are recorded and acted upon. This is separate to the event control log and specific to security. This is because the security contractor will generally be on their own radio channel and event control won’t be logging their comms.

They also must have a daily register of all security staff. The register must include the person name, PSA licence number, uniform ID number and position. This has to be kept with the Security Mangement Plan and be provided to the Event Controller to show that the contractor has provided the correct amount of staff to safely run the event and that they are not breaking the law by having non licenced staff in licenced areas.

All nice in theory

All of this is nice in theory and might be legally ‘mandatory’ but it isn’t being done. That’s obvious at the vast majority of events around the country. It’s hard to blame the contractor. They want to make the most of a very tight profit margin and when event organisers want to spend less on security than they do on marketing it makes it hard to make a profit. I fear it’s going to take a tragic incident at an event and a major court case to change this.

These aren’t hard things to achieve. A little work before and during event with a decent template and they are done. I think handing these to the Event Controller at the start of an event makes the contractor stick out as a real professional. There are some security contractors who are doing this but they can’t drive change as they try to compete with those who don’t. What will drive change is two things:

1. The PSA carrying out a targeted campaign during event season and suspending somebodies contractor licence for non compliance.

2. Event controllers taking the lead and forcing their contractors to come up to standard. After all it’s the Event controller who has ultimate legal responsibility for the event.

I just hope that one of these things happens before the tragic event.

Note from Tony:

If there are any small event security companies out there who want copies of any of the templates mentioned above feel free to get in touch. Happy to help.

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