Exploring the UK’s perception of event security

In light of recent Protect Duty updates (also known as Martyn’s Law and the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill), which includes the highly anticipated six-week consultation focused on updating security measures for Standard Tier premises under the legislation, we wanted to explore the UK’s perception of event security and share advice for event organisers and venues in developing a holistic security framework for events.   

With this in mind, we surveyed 2,000 Brits¹ to uncover how safe they feel attending events in 2024. In our new study, we sought to understand the UK’s general perception of safety at events and what specific factors contribute to feelings of security or unease when attending events. 

How safe does the public feel attending events? 

According to our new study, Brits feel concerned for their safety when attending public gatherings (6%)². The events where individuals feel the least secure include sporting events (28%), with men more likely to be more fearful (30%) than women. 

One respondent expressed that he feels nervous about attending events like football games due to the aggressive attitude of some fans: “Many football game visitors don’t come to see the match, but they come to fight. Football should be visible on TV only.” Research supports this sentiment, with public disorder (35%) and violent disorder (20%) making up the total number of arrests during the 2022/23 football season. 

Cities that feel sporting events are the least safe include Cardiff (40%), Southampton (38%), and Norwich (33%), according to Heald’s survey.  

The new data reveals that women are more likely to feel uneasy when attending concerts/music festivals, with 37% reporting a sense of insecurity. Gig attendees in Belfast (61%), Bristol (40%), and Edinburgh (36%) are also among those where attendees feel least safe. These findings are backed by YouGov research, which indicates that one in five women have experienced harassment at a festival.  

What factors influence the public’s sense of security at events the most?

Our study found that event goers feel like crowd size (25%) influences their sense of safety the most. This heightened concern regarding crowd size stems from various factors, including the potential for overcrowding, difficulty in navigating dense crowds, heightened anonymity, which can facilitate misconduct or crime, and challenges for event organisers in effectively managing large numbers of attendees in emergencies. However, respondents reveal that if venues had more security bollards and barriers surrounding the perimeter (20%), this would reduce concerns. 

This preference for heightened physical security measures at events suggests that visible infrastructure like bollards and barriers can reassure attendees by highlighting safe zones, managing crowd flow, and deterring unauthorised access or hostile vehicle incursions. This finding follows respondents emphasising that past incidents, such as the Manchester Arena attack, influence their sense of security, negatively impacting their confidence to attend future events. In addition to implementing perimeter security solutions, there is a call for increased security personnel.  

As the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill nears enforcement for venues with over 100 attendees, event organisers and venues must prioritise securing their premises.

Event security bollards and barriers 

Perimeter security solutions appropriate for events and event venues include, but are not limited to, our Matador, Synergy, and Apex products:  

Matador: With patented protection and crash-tested to various IWA standards, the Matador guarantees robust security while accommodating uninterrupted pedestrian flow, a crucial feature for event settings. During crash tests, it not only halted vehicles with zero penetration but also maintained functionality post-impact without requiring repairs.

The Matadors unique sliding design ensures smooth access for authorised vehicles, including emergency services, which are often present at events. Also, its flat surface when retracted, eliminates trip hazards, prioritising attendee safety. Our Matador’s versatile installation options, such as surface mounting for shallow areas, make it an ideal choice for temporary event setups or permanent fixtures. 

Synergy: Our Bridge Bollard System was engineered primarily to safeguard bridges from hostile vehicle threats, yet its versatility extends to inner cities and footways, offering comprehensive security solutions particularly relevant for outside event venues.

The Synergy security system comprises nine fixed bollards on individual baseplates, interlocked without the need for pinning. Crash-tested with a configuration of nine interconnected bollards, the design allows for seamless expansion to protect larger areas, including event spaces.

Apex: Our Apex Static Bollard offers a shallow mount solution that is not only flexible but also adaptable to a wide range of locations, including event venues, thanks to its modular design. 

Designed for quick and straightforward installation, the Apex Bollard can be arranged in either a straight line or a curved array, making it versatile for event setups. Its circular shape allows for various aesthetic finishes and covers, ensuring a seamless perimeter that complements both historic and modern architecture, adding an extra layer of security to event venues.

How can event organisers and venues enhance event security measures? 

Establishing a comprehensive event security framework means event organisers and venues must consider a holistic approach to safeguarding visitors. While physical security measures such as bollards and barriers are effective at protecting against specific threats, they are just one piece of the puzzle. 

In conjunction with perimeter security solutions, comprehensive surveillance systems provide constant monitoring and early detection of suspicious activities. Additionally, deploying well-trained security personnel ensures prompt response to security incidents and enhances crowd management capabilities; this is particularly important at the entrance of venues. Effective emergency response protocols mitigate risks and ensure swift and coordinated action in crises. It’s the combination of these elements, alongside effective hostile vehicle mitigation solutions, that ultimately contribute to the desired outcome of safe visitors and secure event environments.

For more information on the most suitable perimeter security for your event, please get in touch with our friendly team: https://www.heald.uk.com/get-in-touch/ 


  1. Nationally representative survey of 2,000 respondents conducted through survey provider Leadership Factor on behalf of Heald Ltd in February 2024. 
  2. Considering 6% of respondents feel unsafe at events and measuring this percentage against the current UK population (gathered from the World Bank 29/02/24), this equates to 4,110,530 people across the UK who feel unsafe attending public events.  

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