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Planning for increased threat levels

Access and egress procedures at a sports ground

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has issued counter terrorism guidance for publicly accessible locations.

Up to date advice on developing or ongoing threats may also be found on the ProtectUK website.

Sports ground management should visit these sites to obtain the information and guidance necessary to prepare their match / event day plans.

This guidance note has been developed by the SGSA in partnership with NaCTSO to provide more specific guidance for sports grounds management in relation to the development of ingress and egress plans within their Operations Manual or Event Management Plan during periods of heightened alert when the national terrorist threat level increases, particularly when it is raised to critical.

Ingress and egress periods are times of particular vulnerability with large numbers of people moving through often restricted areas.

It is recommended that all sports grounds should revisit their ingress and egress plans and upgrade or develop those plans so that they take account of the different threat levels.

It is good practice to ensure that the same security procedures put in place for people accessing the sports ground are in place during the egress period.

Key points for sports grounds to consider for ingress and egress plans when the threat level is increased.

For a number of years, the UK has been at a threat level of either Severe (an attack is highly likely) or Substantial (an attack is likely) and ground management should have developed plans that are in place to provide protective security appropriate to that level.

Additionally, sports grounds should ensure that options have been pre-identified to provide enhanced protection to people at the ground when the threat level is raised to Critical (an attack is expected imminently) and that any upgrade of human, technical or physical resources is pre-planned, proportionate and achievable at short notice.

Indicative questions

Whilst creating the enhanced plan or checking its effectiveness, ground management should consider, with policing partners where appropriate, the following questions.

General arrangements

Are all vehicle movements controlled to prevent vehicle / pedestrian conflict?

Is there clear demarcation identifying the public and private areas of the ground?

Do staff, including contractors, cleaners and other employees wear ID badges at all times when at the ground?

Do the plans to minimise the risk of attack take account of all potential terrorist attack methodologies?

Are staff deployed to detect, deny and thereby defeat hostile threats?

Are stewards/security personnel deployed to conduct unpredictable security activities both within the footprint of the sports ground and in surrounding areas?

Are stewards/security staff encouraged to engage with individuals acting suspiciously?

Do stewards/security receive training on items or actions that may be considered suspicious (for instance, inappropriate clothing or bag)

Do the plans include action to be taken if a suspicious person or object is found within or outside the ground?

Do the event management plans contain arrangements for the ongoing risk assessment of the threat to the sports ground (such as recent local community tensions or late notice attendance of VIPs) ?

Is someone charged with monitoring news and social media sites and bringing any items of interest to the attention of the safety officer?

If additional staff are brought into the ground because of increased risk, are those staff checked, suitably trained (e.g. ACT e-learning and SCaN), properly briefed and familiarised with the ground and the security plans?

Is perimeter surveillance maintained before, during and after the event?

Have industry rated vehicle security barriers been considered as a means to mitigate against a hostile vehicle attack?

Have all the arrangements been checked for unintended consequences in other areas of safety?

Do the plans include arrangements for the deployment of police, including armed officers, within or in the vicinity of the ground?

Ingress arrangements

Have all possible access points been reviewed recently and identified in the plan and considered for use?

Do the ingress plans include arrangements for identifying and searching members of staff, contractors and others on entry to the ground?

Do the ingress plans include arrangements and briefing for searching staff on the ground’s searching policies and procedures?

Has the range of prohibited items been reconsidered to allow for a free-flowing search regime?

Do the plans include arrangements to increase the number and range of prohibited articles (such as a ban on large bags or use of clear bags only)?

Are there plans to open additional turnstiles / access points to facilitate faster ingress without diminishing the search regime?

Do the plans include arrangements for queue management during the access period, so as to minimise the build-up of crowds on the outside of the ground?

Egress arrangements

Have all possible egress points been reviewed and identified in the plan and considered for use?

Do the plans include the deployment of sufficient staff to provide security and reassurance throughout the egress routes and for the full period of egress?

Have areas beyond Zone Ex (the immediate footprint of the ground) been considered in the plan?

Is there a facility to check the external area before opening gates at the end of the event (including your own or local partners’ CCTV or security patrols)?

Are the same perimeter control measures in place at the end of the event as were in place at the beginning?

Do the plans include a provision to open more egress points at the end of the event to help reduce the flow of people through the exits?

Is there a no admission policy at the end of the event to prevent contra-flows?

Can arrangements be made to slow egress by providing for instance, TV replays, opening of refreshment bars etc?

Is the possibility of closing the final exit gates or doors, should an external threat be perceived, risk assessed in the plans?

Is there a detailed contingency plan for the redirection of those leaving for each exit gate or door should any of them need to be closed?

Are arrangements for vulnerable or disabled people considered within the plans?

Does the ground / event travel plan allow for prompt dispersal of people once they have left the ground?


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

Are there clear strategies for providing messages, internally and externally, on the increased security arrangements?

Do the communications strategies include the use of all available means: e.g. security minded communications, PA systems, web pages, ground and club apps and social media, pitchside and scoreboard LED screens?

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

Have pre-scripted messages been designed to assist with providing information to those at the ground?

Do the plans include arrangements to communicate with other publicly accessible locations / businesses in the vicinity of the ground?

Do the plans include arrangements to communicate with transport networks?

Are all staff and spectators reminded that security is the responsibility of all those at the ground and not just safety and security personnel?

Are all staff briefed on what is regarded as suspicious behaviour and what to do if this is suspected?

Are changes to ingress and egress plans publicised to spectators? In particular, are any changes to search regimes / prohibited articles and possible delays gaining access highlighted?

Are people advised to arrive early and to bring minimum belongings with them to avoid delays at the searching area?

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