Planning security for events

Planning security for a major event requires a customised approach that considers effective security measures against a realistic assessment of the likely threats to the event.

Event management responsibilities

Event organisers have a duty of care to spectators, participants, officials and staff to put in place measures and plans to deliver event security to the most appropriate level.

You need to:

  • identify risks
  • prioritise which areas of risk can be accepted
  • identify those that need to be mitigated
  • decide who will be responsible for the mitigation of these risks.

Major security partners

While the event organisers and the venue owners are responsible for threat assessment and security planning, major partners must also be informed and involved, eg:

  • the Police (see below)
  • local authorities.

The level of involvement of the Police and local authorities with the event, and the level of their responsibilities, will depend on the event’s scale and type. As a minimum, you need to let them know about your event, its location and the dates.

Working with the Police

While the event organisers have the main responsibility for ensuring a safe environment at the event, the New Zealand Police are generally able to advise on, and support the security measures.

It's important to develop a partnership and involve the Police right from the start:

  • provide the Police with the event details so they can make an informed initial assessment
  • develop a positive working relationship with them, eg ensure they have a good understanding of the event and the roles and responsibilities of the event staff
  • ensure a regular exchange of information between you, the event organiser and the Police
  • ensure all staff clearly understand the different roles and systems.

Threats and risk assessment

Threats and security issues come from many directions. The nature and size of your event will determine which areas will present the greatest risk. Only you, the organiser, along with experts in this area, will be able to establish the priorities across all of the key event areas, which vary from event to event.

Key event areas to consider include:

  • accommodation/hotels
  • accreditation
  • assets
  • event participants
  • catering
  • media/PR
  • medical
  • security
  • sponsors
  • staff
  • transport
  • venues
  • VIPs
  • volunteers.

Terrorism threats

Major events are always potentially at risk of being used as a platform for terrorism.

In New Zealand, the Police Commissioner is accountable for the operational response to threats to national security, and has a major role through the Official Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC).

ODESC is made up of a range of government and non-government agencies that work together to manage New Zealand's wider counter-terrorism efforts.

See New Zealand's response to threats of terrorism(external link).

Developing the security plan

You should appoint a security coordinator, who will ultimately be responsible for the security plan. We advise appointing a professional security consultant to help develop your security plan.

It's essential the security plan is not formed in isolation. Under the clear direction of the event manager, the plan must be:

  • developed in conjunction with the event planning process
  • take into account the identified risks and minimum requirements for the event.

Give your event a reality check for security requirements based on budgetary constraints.

Assessing the likely risks is only the first step in successful event security planning. The next step is developing and implementing basic security plan components — entry criteria and access control, critical area protection, and event-specific issues — to meet these threats.

The security plan has a number of core components. See the resources below for more information and guidance of core components. See the resources below for more information and guidance.

You need to provide a copy of the security plan to the Police Operations Planning team. This may be done directly, or through your host city event facilitator.

Security communications

Meetings

Your security coordinator must attend all event planning and site meetings to ensure they are familiar with the main internal/external stakeholders, and can access new event information that may affect their planning.

Security and crowd management firms should meet on site well before the event to get to know the venue, event infrastructure and processes, and also to brief staff. Ideally these agencies will be involved in a test event at the venue.

 

Reporting

Your security coordinator should provide formal debriefs and written reports to the event management team as required.

The final debrief report should address the original plan, outline any specific incidents and suggest improvements for subsequent events.