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What You Need to Know About Bag SearchesNeed to hire security staff to do bag Searches?  Here is everything you need to know about Bag Searches!

Many event organisers and party hosts rely on bag searches as a means of keeping everyone safe but what can event security staff do when it comes to bag searches?

We are living in different times or so it seems. Knife crime, for example, increased by 22% in England and Wales during 2017, something that event organisers are aware of as they are of recreational drugs, contraband alcohol and so on.

As a result of these issues and others, such as terrorism and threats, event organisers, pub and club owners, as well as party hosts, are hiring event security staff to conduct bag searches. But what are the rules and good practice behind bag searches?

Can people refuse a bag search?

The only people with the power to forcibly search someone if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is involved or likely to be involved in a crime are the police. Event or door staff have no right in law to forcibly search anyone’s bag.

However, as an event organiser, you can make it a ‘condition of entry’ that bags are searched prior to someone being let in. If they refuse, they will be refused entry.

What are event security staff looking for when they search bags?

Effectively, bag searches are carried out to detect items or substances that event organisers want to keep out of the party, festival and so on. The list of items usually confiscated are;
• Illegal/recreational drugs
• Offensive weapons (or an item that could be used as one)
• Unauthorised objects such as laser pens, fireworks, paint sprays, alcohol or whatever items the organisers or hosts decide they don’t want in their venue

Do you need to tell people they will be subject to a bag search?

It is a sad indictment of the modern times in which we live that most people attending a large public gathering, from a family concert to a food festival or music gig, would expect security to check their bags.

However, just because the majority of us expect and submit to a bag search, it doesn’t mean that event security staff and event organisers can become complacent and flout the standards of good practice.

* Display signs of prohibited items

As well as displaying an easy to read list of prohibited items, event organisers are encouraged to make this information available to guests and attendees before they arrive for the event.

The sign must clearly tell people;
o Their bags will be searched on entry
o It is a condition of attending the event – refusal means no entry!
o What happens if people are found with prohibited items – in most cases, this means the police will be called

* Tell people beforehand there will be bag searches
For ticket-only events and on leaflets and other promotional materials, event organisers are encouraged to share information regarding bag searches as well as what not to bring on the day.
* Do it quickly and professionally
Bag searches at events shouldn’t mimic those at airports and other travel hubs. They should be done quickly, with professional event security staff looking for items on the prohibited list and nothing more!

What should be on the prohibited items list?

It’s tempting to either list everything and anything or leave it open to interpretation but what you prohibit from being brought into an event depends very much on the event itself, the location and venue, any issues in the past as well as advice from the local police.

For example, it would be churlish to ban food and drinks from an all-day outdoor family event but wise at an evening event where in the past alcohol being smuggled into an event fuelling unrest and other unwanted behaviour.

Therefore, when creating your list consider the current terrorism threat and advice from national agencies as well as the police, the event itself and what you want to discourage from happening.

How should bag searches be carried out?

Hiring event security staff will see you answer many of these questions, as SIA licensed security personnel will have been trained in how to go about bags searches in the right way;
* REMEMBER you don’t the legal right to search someone’s bag, so ask before you do
* Make it clear that a bag search is a condition of entry – no search means no entry
* Be clear on what the prohibited items are and search for these
* Emphasise the police will be called to anyone found in the possession of an offensive weapon and/or illegal drugs

Is there another solution?

Unfortunately, for most events, whether invitee-only or public events, bag searches are a necessity to keep people safe.

Why not hire licensed event security staff and be safe? Call our team on 0844 800 0071 for a free, no obligation quote.

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