29th April 2024 | Category: Events, Insights

How much security do I need for my event?

Close up shot of an event security officer

Successful events prioritise visitor experience. Whether it’s a concert or a marathon, large crowds come with expectations for a positive experience. Event organisers can create a good visitor experience in numerous ways, but one of the most crucial elements is adequate security 

However, each event is unique, and several factors dictate how much security is appropriate for each event. In this blog, we’ll explore how to assess security requirements for your event, and how different event types, locations and other factors influence these requirements.  

Why is event security important? 

Most events are intended to draw large crowds, provide a spectacle or offer entertainment, aiming to create memorable experiences for attendees. However, these parameters can also make safety a concern. Ensuring a safe environment is vital as it directly impacts both how attendees feel at the event and the event’s reputation. So, it’s crucial that event organisers are aware of the safety and security risks associated with their event and mitigate them accordingly.  

The risks can vary depending on the type of event, but there are several common safety factors that apply to most events.

Terrorism threats 

Events are prime targets for terrorist attacks, as they often mean a large number of people in one premeditated space. Legislation, such as the SAFETY Act in the US and the upcoming Martyn’s Law in the UK, is intended to create clear guidelines for better anti-terrorism measures at venues and event spaces. 

Door security 

Events often have strict rules about what items can and cannot be brought into the location. Security at the entrances helps  to ensure that these rules are followed for the safety of the visitors. 

Crowd control 

The number of people who can safely fit in a designated space varies based on the activities being performed. Therefore, controlling the crowd is a nuanced task that requires clear understanding of the event and its patrons. 

The majority of events require a risk assessment for these areas, and appropriate security measures should be put in place based on the findings of that assessment.  

What to consider 

While a thorough risk assessment should be conducted prior to any event, paying particular attention to common factors can help organisers to understand their unique security needs. 

Type of event 

The nature of the event  is a crucial factor in the level and type of security required. A triathlon, for example, has different requirements to a rock concert. Considering what typically occurs at the event can help predict and minimise any potential hazards. 

Event logistics 

The location of an event can significantly affect the level of security required. If the event is in a highly populated area where the crowds will add a lot of traffic, more security personnel might be needed. Similarly, if the event takes place in a venue with multiple entrances, more door security will be necessary compared to a venue with just one entrance. 

The timing of an event is also important. If a sports game starts at midday, the crowd is less likely to be rowdy than if it starts at 6pm and they have had time to have a drink beforehand. The same is true for an event held on a weekend versus a weekday. 

Crowd analysis 

Crowd analysis is a crucial part of any event’s risk assessment, but taking special consideration of the expected crowd can help to predict the event’s environment.

Take an arena event, for example. A league final in a major sport will attract a highly invested, competitive crowd that might get caught up in the experience and have a high potential for rowdiness. Security is essential to ensure the crowd stays controlled and minimise the risk of safety issues from antisocial behaviour. 

Alternatively, the arena could host a major pop star’s international tour. There is no competitive element to the event, so the crowd will portray a more inclusive form of excitement and is less likely to result in physical altercations. Here, security will be more focused on protecting the performer from overly enthusiastic fans and maintaining control of the crowd to prevent issues such as crushing in standing circles. 

Although the crowd dictates different priorities for the security personnel, it’s important to remember that they will also have many similarities in the way the security is carried out. Both examples require door security, for example, to uphold rules about what items can be brought into the venue and to manage the safe entry and exit of large numbers of people. 

Calculating event security requirements 

According to event security professionals, K4 Security, the general rule of thumb is that there should be one security professional on site for every 250 visitors. However, this is a minimum figure and does not consider additional factors such as those above. Let’s break down the calculation based on two common types of event; music and sports. 

Music event security 

A music event can refer to concerts or music festivals. These can range from intimate affairs to large-scale events and pose a variety of potential threats.  

Depending on the type of music and the nature of the event, you might need different security. For a standing concert, event security is needed to control the crowds and ensure nobody gets injured. A festival security plan, on the other hand, requires more door security to search for prohibited items. For events with a stage, event security ensures protection for the musicians. 

High-profile concerts have historically been the target of terrorist attacks, such as the Manchester attack at Ariana Grande’s 2018 concert. Adequate security is vital for ensuring the safety of both the artists and the attendees. Especially in large venues or for prolific artists, it is prudent to employ counter-terrorism specialists in addition to an event security team. 

For music events, your event security might involve an officer for every 250 people, plus adequate cover at entrances and exits, coat rooms, at the stages, and in a security control room. 

Sport event security 

Security at sporting events can vary considerably, from local games to globally anticipated international tournaments. The level of sport often indicates crowd behaviour, and the event’s location can also influence the facility’s security plan.  

For an international event, security extends beyond the event sites and venues. The Olympics, for example, station security officers at transport hubs, ensuring that incoming visitors arrive safely at the event.  

At a road event like a marathon or triathlon, spectators gather at a range of points along the course. Security must be in place at various areas of the course to protect both the crowds and the competitors.  

For any sporting event, a common guideline is one security officer for every 250 attendees. There should also be adequate cover at entrances and exits, coat check areas, and throughout the crowd. Security along the race course, if applicable, is also crucial. 

Streamline your event security 

We’ve explored how to determine the security needed for events based on their general requirements, but each event is unique. Consulting with a security expert such as K4 Security can enhance any event’s security. By fully assessing potential security risks and informing the security team of any additional considerations, event organisers can deliver incredible experiences with peace of mind. 

To find out how Iventis can simplify your event security planning, book a demo with our team. 

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