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Safety Advisory Group (SAG)

The SAG should be chaired by the Local Authority and include senior representation from the fire and rescue service, the ambulance service, the highways authority, the police service and any other relevant organisation

There is no legal requirement for organisers to refer events to the SAG, nor to comply with its advice and guidance. It is, however, good practice for organisers to liaise with the SAG, or to provide a documented, rationalised justification for not complying with the advice it offers.

While the SAG may express its view on whether the police should attend an event, ultimately it is the responsibility of the relevant force to determine whether a police presence is appropriate and necessary. Events, particularly those of a commercial nature, should not require police attendance. The police may, however, be involved in the scrutiny of the planning as part of the safety advisory group (SAG) process.

Police event safety considerations

The requirement for police attendance and action at an event is based on the need for the police service to discharge its core responsibilities:

  • preventing and detecting crime
  • preventing or stopping a breach of the peace
  • traffic regulation (only under statutory powers relating to events)
  • activating contingency plans when there is an immediate threat to life
  • coordinating emergency response activities associated with a major incident taking place at the event.

In certain circumstances, action by the police may be appropriate when a pre-planned event is considered to be unsafe or could potentially result in significant disorder. Such action could be (but is not limited to):

  • a letter to the organisers advising of the potential danger and their liabilities
  • use of section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 to prohibit public processions (this does not apply in Northern Ireland, see banning a public procession)
  • application for injunction

The Licensing Act 2003 allows the police to make objections about a temporary event notice. These must be relevant to how the notice will undermine a relevant licensing objective.

College of Policing (2014) : Planning and deployment