NOEA Scotland

Whilst the UK event industry is strong and growing at a tremendous rate there are some differences between England,  Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Recently NOEA along with others successfully resolved the special police services in England and Wales and I am sure NOEA's vice president Andy Grove will let you know the outcome of this later.

In Scotland though when the Act to amalgamate the countries police forces in to one Police and Fire (Scotland)Reform Act 2012 , there was a small paragraph inserted that very few have picked up on.

Chapter 13 number 86 states that the local commander  (and this can be from inspector rank) can at his or the local community request ,ensure that police officers are provided. This potentially at their own insistence will provide police officers which the event organiser will be charged for whether  the event organiser likes it or not.

NOEA Scotland has been working with Event Scotland, Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Executive to try and help resolve the problems that have arisen from the amalgamation and also providing help, support and assistance to event organisers as they plan their event.

I have been quoted before many times on this issue and I would reiterate that event organisers as the first step of their events planning, instigate a Safety Advisory Group meeting and invite the police along with the fire and ambulance service, local authority, crowd management company and any interested parties such as required and discuss your plans with them. Ensure that your first draft of the Event Management Plan as well as site plan are circulated prior to the first meeting so as attendees are aware of your plans.

As with all SAG's there will be questions asked and hopefully answered but more importantly you now have a dialogue with the local planning officers which hopefully will reduce their perceived resources.

This works through SAG meetings and further off table meetings we have been successful in reducing police numbers and indeed getting to a level where the police are happy for you to run your event without them being present.

Due to NOEA Scotland's involvement, Police Scotland,  have produced a fact sheet to assist event organisers which we have produced for you here.

As always NOEA is available to assist it's members and can be contacted in the usual way.

Good luck and happy eventing.

Tom Clements is Chairman of NOEA Scotland and Vice President of NOEA UK.

Police Scotland

Police Scotland is one of the Category 1 responders / partners that have a role to support and assist Event Organisers in delivering safe events. Most events can be run safely without much input, if any, from Police, but some, particularly the larger events; may need a policing capability to be put in place. Police Scotland works closely with event organisers of varying knowledge, experience and skills-set, to deliver an appropriate response to events of all shapes and sizes. In this sense ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ and very often demands, even for repeat events can change from one event to the next.

Prior to making initial contact with police it is helpful if the organiser has:
  • Made contact with the Local Authority, notified them of the event and sought advice including whether there are any licensing requirements or traffic management issues to consider such as a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO). It is the event organisers responsibility to ensure the safe traffic management plan and implementation of TTRO’s.
  • Read the Purple and/or Green Guides. The guides are not a legislative requirement, but exemplify current best practice and is a crucial first step for anyone planning on running an event. Organisers can vary hugely in their experience, skills-set and knowledge.
  • Sought the requisite permission from the land/venue owner (if appropriate) as this may be a showstopper if not in place.
  • An idea of what policing assistance/support will be requested from Police Scotland.

Police Scotland has a charging process to recover costs for the deployment of police officers at events and will work with organisers to discuss this in full and whether any abatement may be applied to policing costs. Organisers should be mindful of this and where charges may be relevant, consider this along with all other costs when setting entry fees for their event. Where a police resource is dedicated to the event the organiser will be required to signed a Minute of Agreement (MOA) which is legally binding. The MOA must be agreed and signed by the organiser in advance of the event.

Planning for events works best when organisers engage fully with the process.  The Local Authority will co-ordinate any multi-agency meetings required such as the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and getting the right people round the table at the same time is vital. Organisers must be capable of giving full updates with as much information as possible and therefore good communication is necessary. The organiser will be required to present documentation to all relevant parties for scrutiny such as stewarding plans, risk assessments, event management plans etc.
Police Scotland will ensure that a police command structure is put in place to command the policing operation and this will reflect a Gold, Silver, Bronze Commander hierarchy. However it is important that an organiser also has clear structures in place. For larger events, a Command Protocol will be agreed. This will determine in what circumstances and how the command and  control of the event will be transferred to police.
Once all plans are in place it then may be appropriate to test and exercise them in a multi-agency forum. This is best practice for larger events and can help consolidate preparations and joint understanding along with identifying any weaknesses or gaps in a safe learning environment. It is here that contingencies can be tested to ensure that the known risks have been mitigated and that adequate resilience is in place to respond to emergencies. The command structure, transfer of command and communication are key areas where learning is often most commonly prevalent.
During the delivery of the event, Police Scotland will expect that the organiser has:
  • Appropriate staff in place and all have been fully briefed on their roles and responsibilities.
  • A suitable representative with tactical decision making capability working within the Multi Agency Control Room (MACC).
  • Good communication throughout the venue and with all partners involved.

Common challenges for Police Scotland include:
  • Late notification received of event
  • Timescales – are they achievable?
  • Lack of experience by organiser – unrealistic vision
  • Information gaps
  • What are the public expectations of the event?
  • Will the event have any wider community impact?
  • Is there likely to be any negative public interest surrounding the event?
  • What is/ if any the likely interest of the Media?
  • Social media reporting
  • Other competing demands on the same day
Police Scotland has experienced planning staff situated throughout Scotland working from local offices. There are also three regional offices where Staff can help signpost event organisers to the relevant office where early assistance, guidance and advice can be provided.




Early engagement from you is encouraged and welcomed – please get in touch at the earliest opportunity.

NOEA Scotland Committee
Tom Clements
Specialized Security
Jonathan Reid
Portakabin Events
Vice Chairman

Committee Members


   Ross MacGillivray
                             FMX Ltd
   Martin Dare
                            Rural Projects Ltd