Police guidance for event organisers

A general public perception is that the police are the lead agency in approving an event, including those on public roads. In reality we can neither approve nor ban events, our role, together with our partners on the Safety Advisory Group, is to promote high levels of safety and minimise any adverse impact.

In practice most events pass without any police involvement whatsoever, our presence on the Safety Advisory Group is in furtherance of our core policing principles of preventing crime, keeping the peace and helping and reassuring our communities. As well as offering advice we ensure compliance with appropriate legislation, regulations and guidance. Our aim is that the public are confident events are held safely and with as little disruption as possible.

Policing of events on the public highway

Historically the perception has been held by some that the Police are the lead agency in terms of managing safety around such events. These changes reflect National Policing Guidance which directs us to our core responsibilities including the prevention and detection of crime, maintaining the peace, traffic regulations governed by road traffic closure or regulation orders and activating contingency plans in the event of an immediate threat to life.

One of the key impacts of this policy is that Police Officers will not be used as part of a traffic management plan introduced in consequence of a closure order unless this is completely unavoidable. The historical practice of Police leading and accompanying parades, control and direction of traffic will only occur where circumstances dictate there is no appropriate alternative.

This clearly has the potential to result in changes to the numbers and type of roles undertaken by the Police. Those events which are of a national significance for example Remembrance Day are not affected by this guidance.

We fully recognise that these changes will create significant challenges for some event organisers and we are committed to engage and work with affected parties to provide support and guidance to achieve a mutually acceptable solution. Where necessary a phased approach will be adopted to ensure any impact on the Community and organisers is minimised. 

In practical terms this will reduce the Police involvement in a large number of events and indeed a number will inevitably not involve the Police at all.

Special Police Services

The responsibility for public safety rests with the organisers of an event and the owner of the land on which it takes place. Special Police Services is the provision by the police of an additional special service i.e. beyond that which the police would consider necessary to meet their public duty obligations, and which is provided at the request of organising bodies of certain events and for which the organising body must pay.

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Page last reviewed: 17 January 2018