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Planning for a dynamic lockdown at a sports ground

A dynamic lockdown is the ability to quickly restrict access and egress to a site or building (or part of) through physical measures in response to a threat, either external or internal.

Any processes developed also need to be flexible enough to cope with and complement evacuation, invacuation and movement to protected spaces.

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) provides guidance in relation on the ProtectUK website relating to publicly accessible locations.

Specific guidance on dynamic lockdowns that can be found at the ProtectUK website.

This guidance note has been developed by the SGSA in partnership with NaCTSO to provide more specific guidance for the sports grounds sector. It provides points ground /event management should consider when developing a dynamic lockdown plan as a response to the threat of a gun, vehicle, weapon or other type of terrorist incident at the ground or in the vicinity of the ground.

Due to the differences in construction and use of sports grounds it is not possible to issue definitive guidance, each ground should draw up plans based on their particular circumstances.

The existence of a dynamic lockdown plan does not negate the need for robust security and staff vigilance to detect and deter threats. However, such a plan can assist in frustrating and delaying an attacker(s) during an attack and thereby reduce the number of casualties, providing the emergency services valuable time to respond.

Key points to consider at a sports ground

Whilst creating the plan or checking its effectiveness, ground management should consider the following questions:

Strategic considerations

Has the decision-making process that leads to lockdown been identified and recorded e.g. who makes the final decision to lockdown, how and by whom are they supported?

What information will that person rely upon before making that decision?

Have the benefits of a lockdown (as opposed to an evacuation) been fully explored and understood by the strategic decision makers (e.g. can a threat realistically be kept outside or what if the threat is both inside and outside)?

How will the lockdown decision be communicated to different groups e.g. safety and security teams; medical staff; club staff; contractors; players and officials, broadcast and media attendees, the general public and the vulnerable/less able staff/public.

How does the plan ensure any initial communications can be isolated to priority groups so lockdown can begin to be implemented without causing panic (e.g. ensuring radio messages or telephone calls are not overheard by the public.)?

Is the plan able to evidence that phased, zonal or partial lockdowns are a safe and viable option – if not, have the reasons for ruling out these options been clearly identified and recorded?

Implementing lockdown

Does the plan include an audit of all access and egress locations and identify who has the responsibility for locking down each location?

Does the plan describe how each point of access or egress to the ground will be secured?

Has it been tested to ensure that the time it will take to lock down all access and egress points is understood?

Does it identify how lockdown can be quickly reversed should the need arise (such as in the event of fire)?

Does it identify how to disable lifts without returning them to the ground floor?

Does it identify how to stop people leaving or entering the site and direct people away from danger?

Does it identify how your site can be zoned to allow specific areas to be locked down?

What instructions are given to members of staff on the action to be taken when people refuse to stay at the ground or restrict movement to a particular area?

What advice is to be given to spectators and other visitors who refuse to stay at the ground?

If appropriate for the venue, does the plan include options for moving people within the venue between different zones (zonal invacuation)?

Once the lockdown plan has been initiated what advice is to be given to those outside the secure lockdown perimeter?

Does the plan include a checklist of staff and contractors who will be outside the perimeter and the means of communicating with those groups?

Does it include instructions for calling the Crisis Management Team and where they should locate?

Is there a checklist for considering the ongoing threat in conjunction with the police?

Delay the attack and protect your people and critical assets

Does the plan identify how your site could slow attacker? This may include causing them to waste time, energy, ammunition and weapons on overcoming barriers. Your sites control of lifts, escalators and stairwell access may also help slow the attackā€™s progress.

How do your plans can maximise the opportunity for staff, visitors and responders to escape or stay safe?

How do your plans maximise the opportunity to protect your critical assets; e.g. your control room, air ventilation systems, servers or critical power sources?

What protection is provided to the ground structure as a defence against a threatened attack?

If a CCTV system is in place, does it cover the approaches to the ground and key access points?

What protection is provided for staff working at the access and egress locations?

What are the plans for the protection of members of staff working outside the ground, including those in car parks?

Does the plan describe arrangements for the protection of spectators and other visitors who may be outside the ground (for instance, queuing at turnstiles or en-route to the ground)?

What additional protection is provided for the control room / control point?


Have local police been consulted on the plan and has a joint response been agreed in the event of a threat?

How will information be passed to or obtained from the police or other emergency services during an incident?

Are there clear strategies for providing messages, internally and externally, on the developing situation?

Do the communications strategies include the use of all available means, including PA systems and social media?

Have pre-scripted messages been developed for use in the event of a lockdown?

If yes, who is responsible for this messaging? Who authorises the messaging?

Do the plans include arrangements to communicate with other crowded places/businesses in the vicinity of the ground?

Do the plans include arrangements to communicate to transport networks?

Event Management

Does the plan include a decision-making process as to whether or not the event continues or restarts if the activity has been suspended?

Under the plan, will concessions and hospitality areas (internally or externally) remain open?

How will this be communicated to vendors?

What arrangements are included in the plan to deal with athletes and VVIPs who may be at the ground?

Is the plan regularly briefed to staff?

Does the plan identify a training and exercising regime?

Is there a recovery plan for the end of the threat?

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