Event Security Planning


Bradford Council and Counter Terrorism Police North East are working together to provide event organisers with advice and support on how to enhance security measures against the threat from terrorism when planning an event. Although you might think your event is safe, the threat from terrorism is real and unfortunately increasingly unpredictable, with public spaces and crowded areas being attractive targets.

The information on this page is aimed to help you consider what 'you' can do to reduce your risk and build resilience against the impact of such an attack.

Having effective planning in place can greatly reduce the likelihood of an attack and many event organisers are starting to implement a range of security measures proportionate to their events. Example measures include: -

  • Assessing the vulnerability of your event site. Starting from the approach, the perimeter to inside where the event is taking place. What are the risks and what can you do to mitigate against them?
  • Training for staff and volunteers. There is some excellent free online ACT Awareness E-Learning training to raise awareness and empower your staff. Register for online training via the following link ACT Awareness e-Learning | ProtectUK.
  • Being security-minded in your communications, particularly online. Be careful not to give too much information out that might assist someone with malicious intent.
  • Encouraging a security culture in your organisation through vigilance and ensuring that any concerns can easily be reported and acted upon.
  • Consider how you and your staff would respond to an incident occurring inside, outside, or near to your event. How will you communicate with your staff and the public?

We appreciate not all events are the same and any measures should be appropriate and proportionate to your event.

Security Planning

You may be familiar with putting together a plan for your event and will know how to address many of the requirements around safety, but you may not be so familiar with security issues and terrorism in particular.

To assist you in developing your event security plan download the document CT Security Plan Guidance (PDF).

Bradford Council Safety Advisory Group strongly recommend planning for a terrorist incident as part of your event planning and may ask you for details of your Event Security Plan when considering your application to hold an event in the Bradford district.

Other websites

Below are other websites where you can obtain further information to mitigate terrorist attack and help you to develop your Event Security Plan.

Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s Law will help further improve public safety, enhancing national security and reducing the risk to the public from terrorism by the protection of public premises and events.   

It will place a requirement on those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures.  

The legislation will ensure responsible persons are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.  

To see who the proposals apply to see the Martyn’s Law Factsheet.

Protect UK

Launched in 2022, ProtectUK is a new central hub for counter terrorism and security advice. Whether you’re a business owner, work in security, or are a member of the public, register with ProtectUK to become part of the community and receive the latest news and online courses that will enable you to be better protected.

Click on the link below for expert advice, training and guidance that is readily available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK.

National Protective Security Authority (NPSA)

The NPSA is the UK Government’s National Technical Authority for Physical and Personnel Protective Security. NPSA works with partners in government, police, industry and academia to reduce the vulnerability of the national infrastructure and has a range of protective security guidance products for those working in and around Public Premises and Events.

NPSA provide information and resources to support the promotion of security awareness across organisations. One particular training package to help maximise safety and security is See, Check and Notify (SCaN) which includes modules aimed to help prevent and tackle a range of threats and criminality.

Visit the NPSA website.

Frequently asked questions

Which events have been attacked by terrorists?

Unfortunately, tragic events around the world have shown that terrorist groups have targeted public event spaces previously (see below).

13 November 2015 - Paris Attacks  137 killed, 413 injured

14 July 2016 – Nice Truck Attack 87 killed, 434 injured

19 Dec 2016 – Berlin Christmas Market 13 killed, 55 injured

22 May 2017 – Manchester Arena Bombing 23 killed, 250 injured

These incidents identify that terrorists are prepared to use different methodologies to attack sites and online terrorist media seeks to incite, inspire and enable individuals and groups to target these venues.

Recent events have shown that you cannot hold a safe event without considering security and, you cannot hold a secure event without considering safety.

What would make my event vulnerable to a terrorist attack?

Terrorists have the ability to both identify and exploit weaknesses in protective security and have both the desire and intent to attack crowded places and places of community significance by any means.  Some examples of the vulnerabilities relating to events can include:-

  • No consideration for hostile vehicle mitigation to prevent vehicles being used as a weapon.
  • Weaknesses in physical site boundaries and site security/stewarding.
  • No security checks/access control
  • Lack of staff training in Counter Terrorism awareness
  • Non-inclusion of suspicious behaviour/suspicious items protocols in staff/volunteer briefings.
  • Being careless with online information that might be useful to a terrorist.
  • Unhealthy security culture within the organisation.
  • Lack of vigilance
  • Not knowing how to respond to an incident.

Why would a terrorist attack my event?

Thankfully terrorist attacks are rare. However, the threat from terrorism is real and increasingly unpredictable, with public spaces and crowded areas being increasingly viewed as attractive targets.

The targeting of such locations is usually a hostile individual's choice which cannot always be anticipated. Attacks could potentially occur at any location, and preventing them can prove challenging.

Regardless of your event being a terrorist target there are incidents that you may need to deal with that require you to respond as you would to a terrorist incident. This might include having to deal with: -

  • a bomb threat
  • suspicious items left in or around the area
  • threats or hoaxes, which are designed to frighten and intimidate
  • a vehicle driven irresponsibly

It is worth remembering that implementing measures for countering terrorism will also work against other forms of criminality, such as theft, burglary and arson.

Where possible, additional security measures should be integrated with the existing security regime.

Is it possible to prevent a terrorist attack?

It is accepted that the concept of absolute security is almost impossible to achieve in combatting the threat of terrorism, but it is possible, through the use of Counter Terrorism guidance, to reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practicable.

Will all of these security measures make my event unwelcoming?

It is recognised that there is a need to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere within event environments and Counter Terrorism guidance is not intended to create a ‘fortress mentality’. However, a balance must be struck and proportionate protective security measures introduced to mitigate and respond to the risk of terrorism.