Organisers' Responsibilities

Organisers Responsibility

The organisation of a public event is a considerable responsibility.  In addition to attracting moral and social responsibilities, organisers have civil, common and criminal law responsibilities for which they may have to answer to the courts.  Organisers may be liable for the consequences when things go wrong, particularly if there are defects in the planning or control of the event.  This is more likely to happen if other interested parties are not consulted or if their advice is ignored. It is therefore imperative that event organisers consider carefully obtaining Public Liability Insurance to cover any potential claim against you.

One of the main responsibilities of the organiser is to have concern for the safety of the public attending the event, as well as those, who may, in any way be affected by it.  This includes avoiding damage to property, fear or alarm to the public, disruption to the local community and ensuring that the human rights of persons are not infringed.  Ensuring public safety at a public event is not the primary role of the Police.  The Police are responsible for preventing breaches of the law and taking action against persons who break the law and maintaining the peace.

The organisers’ responsibility for maintaining public safety can best be accomplished if there is no crime or disorder at the event.  Equally, the police role of preventing lawlessness and disorder can best be accomplished when public safety is assured. Since these roles are clearly interdependent, it is in the interest of both organisers and Police to co-operate in regulating the event.  The Police firmly believe that this partnership approach is the most effective way forward for all the parties involved.

The principles of partnership with event organisers are applied at Sporting Events and Stadia.  These events are the subjects of written agreement (Statement of Intent) between the club and the Police.  Although Statements of Intent are not legally binding contracts, they provide a constructive focus for the Police and the clubs, to ensure that all the important issues are addressed.  The parties sign the document to record their agreement and, though there is no compulsion to do so, it then becomes a matter of accepted professional good practice.  Organisers of other public events are asked to sign similar Statements of Intent which reflect an understanding of roles, responsibilities and agreement on how they will be met.

In all cases, accurate, early predictions of the type and number of participants are needed in order that the arrangements can be scaled accordingly.  Early advice and regular contact thereafter with the emergency services and other authorities will enable the organiser to make informed, appropriate and agreed arrangements in relation to traffic management, medical cover, stewarding arrangements and contingency plans.


Page last reviewed January 2020