Event security is so much more than just assigning some security personnel on the venue. The actual process for securing an event is actually quite complex and requires a lot of coordination and communication. By employing the correct security practices, your guests and staff will be safe. Plus, you’ll prevent damages to the venue and property!
We list down tips and the best practices for managing events, crowd control and for keeping the logistics on point.
1. Preparation before the event
Event security plans begin with the logistics aspect as much of it needs to be planned and arranged beforehand while you are just brainstorming the event. Here is a handy list of the things to do, and what needs to be covered.
a. List your requirements
Each venue is unique and requires a specific on-site strategy. For example, an outdoor venue requires a different treatment than an indoor one – you may have to have canopies and tents for the former, which can mean various entrance and exit points for the guests. Knowing this matters because you can accurately estimate how many security personnel should be assigned to the venue. You should also be familiar with any guidelines the venue has regarding what you can and can’t do. For example, you should know if you are allowed to:
– use certain rooms and facilities in the venue
– times and availability schedules of the venue, relating to opening the gates for staff members and guests
b. Choose your options and resources
As event security managers, you have to know what equipment to use in the venue: would the event require walk-through metal detectors or do handheld metal detectors suffice? Knowing if the venue provides personnel, such as administrators, cleaners, custodians, etc. will also help to familiarise security and event staff with each other as they will work in the same environment.
2. On-the-day security
Event security cannot be underemphasised. Damage to property or an injured guest can mean legal, financial and even PR repercussions. This is why a lot of pre-event duties should include security planning. An organised plan for crowd attendance (and crowd control) is needed, too. Here are some of the best practices for maintaining security.
a. Know the venue
Check and familiarise yourself with the venue inside and out. Identify all entry and exit points, and check if it is “porous” – if there are points in the building beyond actual entry points where people can use to be able to enter the building. This can be a window that can be opened from the outside, or a back door for staff. Once these entry points are identified, make sure all members of the security team is made aware. Having a visual plan like a diagram is an easy and effective way to let your team understand the plan.
If the venue is held outdoors, create an event perimeter by using temporary fencing, barricades, etc.
b. Gauge the risk
You can’t perform a background check on all of your customers, but you can identify potential risks. If, for example, you have a controversial guest speaker, make sure to prepare for the risk of protests or confrontation from other guests.
c. Crowd control
The bigger the crowd, the more risks are at stake. Staff should be informed and well-versed in managing large numbers of people. The security team should also be advised that they can exert their authority. They may also need to perform the following things when managing a crowd:
– ensure people don’t block exits
– make sure that guests don’t stray into VIP or “staff-only” areas
– monitor queues to keep people from cutting
It’s also important to ensure that the crowd never goes beyond the venue’s capacity limit, so make sure to count the total numbers – even counting the staff and security personnel.
d. Assess risk for large-scale attacks
It is unfortunate to even mention this but the reality is that we have to, in this time and age. Large crowds are an easy target so a well-managed security service is a must-have.
Make sure to also check all the guests’ bags by letting your security staff know that all personal bags and belongings will be inspected. You should also prepare a list of contraband items that cannot be allowed inside the venue, like food, weapons, and chemicals. Alert your staff to look for suspicious behaviour, especially right outside the venue. Examples of suspicious behaviour include:
– constantly looking at security staff
– lack of interest in event activities
– looking intensely anxious
e. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication should be on point. Make sure that each staff member has a walkie talkie or radio so personnel can stay in contact all the time without leaving their assigned area. Make sure to your team to also stay in touch with the events company personnel so that they can report any suspicious activity to the security team. This needs to be mentioned as events company people and security teams tend to not communicate with each other.
Use these tips to keep your guests and staff safe. With any event, there is always a risk of going something wrong so you have to be prepared, and with enough preparation, it will surely be an organised and safe event that will leave everyone happy.