NCS4 Best Practice: permitted and prohibited items

According to the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at the University of Southern Mississippi:

Establish a written policy regarding permitted and prohibited items on campus property and in campus venues. These policies must be written and communicated to be legally enforceable. By creating a written document that is communicated, there will be a reduction in confusion and prevent patrons from getting to the gate/doors with prohibited items. There should also be a statement that is communicated to patrons that states they consent to searches as a requirement for entry.

All primary screening should be conducted by non-law enforcement security staff, backed up by law enforcement. Some of the items to be considered are: coolers, bags, strollers, backpacks, containers, explosives, chemicals, flammable liquids, any weapons, outside food or beverages (except as required for authorized medical needs).

After the policy has been created and all prohibited items have been selected, there should be a posted list of these items. This list should be posted in various areas surrounding the stadium to include parking lots, transit points/stations, and entrances to the stadium. Along with posting these lists, there should be an awareness campaign. This campaign should be broadcast in the broadest possible manner to include the screening/inspection process and penalties for breaches. The penalties are part of the initial policy. To have a fully exhaustive policy, all aspects need to be considered. Then, with the penalties comes the need to have a procedure in place and staff trained on how they will handle patrons that appear at the game with these prohibited items. Some of the responses may be:

Refusing admittance

Requiring items be returned to their vehicle (what if they used public transportation)

Have a disposal bin and require they dispose item(s)

Have them check the item(s) at a bag check facility

When staff are being trained, there may be some exceptions that will need to be included. These include: medical devices/equipment, VIPs, officials, and refusals. These are some of the less common items that will still play a role and need to be trained on. There should also be a threshold of justification for levels of screening at events particularly for certain events. Then, you should test screening equipment and staff performance under actual live conditions and in real-time with penetration tests. Whatever primary method used for screening, have secondary or back-up devices/methods. For more information on the Best Practices, download the 2018 editions of the NCS4 Safety and Security Best Practices Guides at