Festival Security – Know Your Staff!

Festival Security – Know Your Staff!

In January 2017, Tony Woolcott of Avantguard Security was featured in a ‘Meet The Security Company’ article in Risk UK Magazine.  As part of this article a question was raised about Business Licensing and part of his response was as follows:-


“In terms of sub-contract labour, essentially this isn’t an issue, but it becomes a problem when it’s used to circumnavigate regulations and avoid employer responsibilities. Sectors such as the ‘Event Security market’ rely heavily on sub-contract labour often recruited through social media. There appears to be little in the way of standards or screening of individuals to work at large events and, in my opinion, this places members of the public at risk.”


The UK has a vibrant event sector and the summer sees the organisation of hundreds of festivals ranging from small local fetes through to large scale weekend long events that are attended by tens of thousands of people.  Security at these events is critical and the public needs to feel safe.  The recent BBC article and SIA Investigation about Festival Security and Cloned SIA Licences can seriously shake public confidence.


So, what can you do to ensure your event/festival security staff are properly trained, licenced and vetted?

  1. Plan in advance and do not leave it to the last minute. The less time a company has to provide security, they more likely they are to cut corners.
  2. Check that your security company is supplying SIA licenced staff – they should be able to provide names and SIA licence numbers.
  3. You can check the validity of a SIA Licence through the SIA Register of Licence Holders.
  4. Check that their company insurance covers you in case of problems during the event.
  5. Remember that there is a distinct difference between Stewards and Security staff….you should only have door supervisor qualified staff working at licenced venues…stewards can be used for car parking, directing people etc. Take a look at the SIA booklet on Security at Events for more information.

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