Crowd control of an event should form an essential element of your planning. The safety of your attendees is your primary responsibility, but at the same time your crowd control techniques need to be professional and, where necessary, discretionary to ensure the event goes smoothly and is enjoyable for those present. While of course you have to have plans in place to react to incidents of concern, you also need to manage the finer details of the event, because safety is your most important consideration, but people are quick to talk about a bad experience at an event and this can start to damage your brand as a venue, an event planner or a promoter.
So here we have put together five golden rules for managing your crowd control and which are applicable to any size or nature of event.
- Risk assessment
This should be the foundation of your crowd control programme and should be carried out well in advance of the event. The same format of risk assessment can be used for any event, because fundamentally you are asking yourself what type of event it is, what type of audience you are expecting and what type of venue is hosting the event. Looking at all these factors in order should enable you to identify what risks exist and what control measures you need to put in place. Clearly some events are more high risk than others. For example a football match between two local rivals is a much harder event to crowd manage than a church summer fete, and should be risk assessed accordingly.
- Access control
By managing how people enter an event, you are automatically managing the risk and the crowd. If you have a large crowd, you may wish to slow down access so the event space doesn’t fill up too quickly. You may wish to screen attendees for drugs and alcohol with dog patrols. You may need to direct people to different areas of the site as they arrive. You may need security on the door to check for age restrictions or other people not authorised to access, and of course you need to control who has tickets for the event. There are several different strands to access control but it is an integral element of your crowd management strategy because you can essentially cut out the root cause of many issues at source, and in that respect, it makes sense to minimise the access points you have to the event, as the more you have the harder it is to manage.
- Visual and discreet security
The type of security you have at an event very much depends on the nature of it. For a football match, for example, you want to have visible security such as a security dog and its handler. These can act as an effective deterrent to potential trouble. At other much calmer and peaceful events you want more passive security who will blend into the background and simply monitor the event for safety reasons. There are several potential areas in between where you may want security to act as a visual face of the event and to be friendly, welcoming and approachable. In all cases you need professional, trained and effective security for the event in question. For example, dog security is ideal for a high risk event as dogs are comfortable in crowds and trained to deal with certain situations which may arise.
- Site organisation
A big factor in controlling crowds at an event is having your site organised in readiness. This will come from your risk assessment, but essentially you need your site to have good signage so people know where to go, and you need to have effective barriers for queuing, so the site flows without any bottlenecks and to partition off restricted areas, so site organisation is as much about ensuring the event runs smoothly as it is about health and safety.
- Emergency plan
You should always have an emergency plan in place and this should be well documented and communicated to all the relevant personnel. This will involve your security team and all the event management team and should come from the findings of your risk assessment. What this boils down to is that you should be prepared for everything. At a football match violence could erupt at any point, at a music event a person who has consumed too much alcohol may require an intervention, at any type of event there may be a pickpocket, or an argument, or a piece of equipment malfunctions or a medical issue. You need to have a plan for how to deal with all these potential issues, so that the crowd are effectively managed and the event runs as smoothly as possible.
At React K9 we can provide professional and fully trained dog security for your event. We offer a bespoke service which is tailored to the needs of your event and can include perimeter security, crowd management, controlling restricted areas and health & safety monitoring, so if you are planning an event with crowd control issues, contact React K9 today.