Our involvement in events and processions
If you see police officers during an event or procession, they’ll be performing various functions. These include preventing crime and disorder, preventing breaches of the peace and minimising serious disruption to the wider community. Police officers will talk to organisers before and during the event to achieve this.
Marches and processions
During large marches or protests, officers tend to be posted at key locations.
Violence and disorder
Most events and processions take place peacefully, without any danger to the public. However, if there is violence or disorder our officers will intervene to prevent further disruption and make arrests if necessary. If you witness violence or disruption while at an event, move to a safe distance and tell a police officer as soon as you can. For all other ways to get in touch, visit our contact us page.
Filming at events
Sometimes our officers will film an event or procession taking place. This is to gather intelligence or evidence to help us improve how we police similar events in future. For instance, where there's been violence or disorder we can use the video to find those responsible and make sure they don’t disrupt further events. To help build a case, we may also film general video footage to capture the mood of the crowd.
Guidance for event organisers
On this page you’ll find information and advice around the responsibilities of event organisers and the police at public events.
In addition to carrying moral and social responsibilities, organisers have civil, common and criminal law responsibilities. You may be liable for the consequences when things go wrong, particularly if there are issues in the planning or control of an event.
It’s important for you to be aware of the provisions of the 1986 Public Order Act. Failing to give the police advance notice of the date, time and venue/route of a procession; changes to these details without updating the police or other involved agencies; or failure to comply with changes, conditions or prohibitions set by the police may constitute criminal offences.
The use of certain locations for assemblies (including the places people will need to use to get to and from the gathering) require permission from the relevant authority.
Send requests for permission to police as soon as possible before the event.
One of the main responsibilities of an event organiser is the safety of the people taking part, as well as for those in any way affected by it.
This responsibility extends to avoiding damage to property, fear or alarm to the public, or disruption to the local community.
Ensuring public safety at a public event is not the first responsibility of the police.
Police are responsible for maintaining the peace, preventing breaches of the law and taking action against people breaking the law.
If possible, encourage people attending an event to use public transport to get to the assembly point and when leaving the event.
It’s a good idea to provide information about what transport options are available.
Vehicles or animals should not be involved in processions. The use of vehicles can increase the risk of injury to the people involved and animals can often become overwhelmed by large crowds and panic. People should not be allowed to leave a procession to distribute leaflets. If you’re intending to present a petition, you’ll need to let the police know as special arrangements usually need to be made with the recipient.
Ideally collections shouldn’t be made during processions. However if money is to be collected, you may need to apply for a licence. If banners are to be used it’s sensible to design them with a hole to reduce the risk of danger when they're used in high winds.
Control the use of PA (public address) systems so you don't disturb the local community. Ensure that children under the age of 16 are accompanied by an adult and are kept away from any roads on the edges of procession routes where there might be traffic. You should consider making provisions for first aid.