Safety Policy and Contingency Planning

  1. Introduction

This plan is intended for normal matches played at Victoria Park.  Total ground capacity designed for is 1200.

Embankments for standing spectators are on a slight slope and covered stand.  Vale of Leithen FC attract around 50 spectators to games.  If a crowd exceeding 500 is expected, then an Operation Plan should be in place to deal with this.

The aim of this plan is to prepare for and define the action to be taken in the event of a system failure or emergency arising within the facility.  This may include mechanical and electrical systems.

This Plan is intended for use of club officials and in particular the Safety Officer and Stewards.  It should also be used by other agencies engaged on official duties at the ground as a reference.  It identifies the action required by the club and where a response is required from the emergency services.

  • Ground Detail

The Vale of Leithen ground is located in Hall Street, Innerleithen.

Accommodation for disabled spectators will be provided beside and within the stand.

The north and north east sides of the stand are terraced and also have grass embankments which are sloped, suitable for standing spectators, which will house the home & away team supporters.

There are toilet facilities in the clubhouse and at the ground entrance for both able and disabled supporters

  • Spectators Admission And Management

The club will agree with the Scottish Borders Council on the points, method and control mechanism relatingto the admission of spectators and indentify those parts of the ground into which spectators should be admitted or confined, together with strategic gates that should be stewarded to ensure the safety of spectators.

The spectators will be allowed entry to the ground 1 hour prior to kick off.  The ground staff, Club Officials and Stewards will give a general inspection of the condition of the state of the ground to ensure all exit routes are free from obstruction or trip hazard, test exit gates and perimeter fence, inspect all areas for debris which could be used as a missile, and remove any combustible materials.

The club will ensure an effective system of spectator access, admission of all spectators will be entry gate access, which will be enforced by the stewards responsible for admissions.  This along with appropriate monitoring will ensure the capacity for any enclosure is not exceeded.

Stewards will monitor crowd conditions in each area and report any potential issues, whilst ensuring gangways and emergency exit gates are kept clear free from obstruction.


The club will provide trained first aiders.

  • General Instructions For System Failure

The Safety Officer should be known to all club officials, contract staff, and stewards.

In the event of a failure in any of the systems (e.g.  PA system, emergency gates, lighting, etc) in the ground the following procedure is to be carried out:

4.1 Failure Of A System After Spectators Admission

a) The failure of any system is to be reported immediately to the Safety Officer at the control area, who will arrange for appropriate action to be taken to deal with matter via the club officials.

b) A competent club official will immediately investigate the reason for the failure and advise the Safety Officer of the cause and whether the fault can be rectified.

c) The Safety Officer will advise the PA announcer on the progress being made.  Announcements will be made at regular intervals to keep spectators informed of the situation.

d)  If the failure occurs before the match has started the Safety Officer & Steward Supervisor will ensure that spectators should not continue to enter the facility.

e)  If it is necessary to abandon the event, standard evacuation procedures are to be followed.

4.2 Failure Of A System At Any Other Time

a)  The failure of any system is to be reportedimmediately to club officials, who will arrange for appropriate action to be taken to deal with the matter.

b)  If it is considered that the fault will not be fixed before a match and is likely to affect safety of those attending, the club officials will notify the appropriate parties as deemed necessary.

5 Communication

5.1 General Information

a)  The PA system is provided to enable announcements to be broadcast to all areas of the ground.  This system is located in the club stand, which has visual coverage of the facility.

b)  The Safety Officer will have a personal mobile at all times.

c)  During all key events communications between the match Safety Officer and other key safety personnel will be face to face or mobile phone.

5.2 Public Address System

a)  The Primary function of the public address system is to assist in the control and safety of all persons in the ground. 

b)  The Match Announcer responsible for this equipment will be contactable by mobile phone.  Any urgent messages to stop the entertainment with immediate effect will be relayed through the Safety Officer and the ground PA system will be utilised in the normal manner.

Testing The System

  1.  The System in the Control Area is tested at least 1 hour prior to the event with a message announcement.

Failure of The System

  1.  In the event of a total failure of the system during a match the Safety Officer will in conjunction with the stewards ensure that all staff/stewards are informed of the failure and of the need to be particularly alert to any messages that they might be required to pass on, or act upon.
  2.  If it becomes apparent that the fault is not temporary the Safety Officer will decide as to the safety implications of continuing with the match.
  3. Should the secondary system fail, and it is decided to abandon the match, the general evacuation procedure should be carried out.

6 Emergency Situations

  1.  All situations that might endanger the safety of spectators must be reported immediately to the Safety Officer.
  2. The Safety Officer shall decide the action to be taken to deal with the situation.

7 Evacuation & Assembly Points

7.1 Purpose

The purpose of assembling at the designated points is to enable:-

  1.  Spectators to be grouped and managed in an organised manner.
  2. Club records to be checked to ensure that all club personnel are accounted for.
  3. When the evacuation has been completed all exit gates should be closed to prevent persons from re-entering.  The supervisor stewards shall instigate a search of all toilets, hospitality areas, etc to ensure that no one is left in their section and report to the Control Room / Safety officer that the sections are clear.
  4. Unless designated for special duties, all club officials and stewards should proceed to the relevant point, which is the carpark behind the Stand Area.

Stand Area & Clubhouse Facilities

  1.  It is recognised that the primary fire hazard within the ground is likely to occur within the stand area or clubhouse/pavilion facilities.
  2. On hearing the Evacuation Message, Stewards will ensure that all emergency exit gates are opened.
  3. Disabled persons will be advised by designated Stewards to evacuate via their original route of entry.  If this egress is not available the designated Steward will evacuate the area onto the pitch and await assistance from the Emergency Services to vacate the ground via the most appropriate means.

Standing Area

  1.  The fire risk in these sections is minimal.
  2. On hearing the evacuation message for this area, Stewards will ensure that all emergency gates are opened.

Players & Officials

  1.  On hearing the evacuation message, the players and match officials must congregate in the middle of the pitch initially where a Club Official will jointhem and give instructions.
  2. Thereafter if there is an imminent or immediate threat to players and officials on the pitch then a club official should direct the players and match officials out the ground via the emergency gates located in the east section of the ground next to the tennis courts.

7.3 Designated Assembly Points

a)  Car park, caution should be exercised to ensure minimum issues with spectator/traffic confrontation.

7.4 Key Service Contacts


The Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Borders, Borders General Hospital

0300 123 1236

Fire Brigade

The Fire Master, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Hall Street, Innerleithen EH44 6QT

0131 228 1367

First Aid

St Andrews Ambulance Association, Edinburgh HQ, 16 Torphichen Street, Edinburgh , EH3

0131 229 5419

Health Board

The Director Of Public Health, Lothian Health Board, 148 The Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9RR

0131 536 9000


The Chief Constable, Police Scotland, Police HQ, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, EH4 1RB

0131 311 3131

Property Services

Town Development, Scottish Borders Council, Jedburgh

8 Fire

8.1 General Fire Instructions

If you discover a fire or you are informed of a fire…….

  1. Dial 999, report fire at Victoria Park and inform the Control Area by using your mobile phone.
  2. Give exact location of the fire and repeat message.
  3. The Safety Officer will arrange for a nominated Fire Steward to proceed to the zone location and assess the situation then immediately inform the Fire Brigade Control via the 999 system.  If no fire is suspected a message to the effect that the verbal alarm is a suspected false alarm will be passed to the Safety Officer.  This message will be passed to the Fire Brigade Control.
  4. Attack the fire, if possible, with appliances provided but without taking personal risk or putting others at risk.
  5. Fire Points will be set up as necessary.

8.2  Fire Situation

a)  If a fire is detected, the evacuation procedures will be implemented immediately.

8.3 Missing Or Defective –  Fire Extinguishers

  1. If you discover that a fire extinguisher is not located in the designated position, or that an extinguisher has been discharged or is in some other way not in proper working order, the facts should be reported immediately to the Safety Officer.

9 Instructions For Dealing With Suspect Packages

If you discover or are informed of a suspect package…….

  1.  Inform the nearest Police Officer, If available, and/or contact the stadium control area giving the location of the package.  Do not touch or approach the package.  Ensure all spectators vacate the area.
  2. You will be alerted to the fact that there is a bomb threat by the following announcement which will be given over the public address system:  “WILL CONSTABLE ERIS REPORT TO THE STADIUM CONTROL ROOM IMMEDIATELY”…..
  3. On arrival the Police will take charge of the situation.
  4. Take no further action until instructed to do so.

10 Evacuation Messages

If you hear a message with the words “CONSTABLE ERIS”.  Everyone must remain alert and be prepared for emergency action as directed…..

  1. Examples:

“CONSTABLE ERIS IS REQUIRED IN THE STAND”- Prepare to evacuate the Stand Area and surrounding areas.

CONSTABLE ERIS IS REQUIRED IN HOSPITALITY” – Prepare to evacuate the Hospitality Area.

  •  Further to this announcement, all club officials and Stewards should take up their emergency positions.  Stewards manning the exit gates must open immediately in preparation for an evacuation.  No members of the public should be allowed access to the ground.
  • If a decision is made to evacuate the ground the following announcement will be made by the announcer over the PA system:

11 Incident Control

Stewards should be aware at all times of the likelihood of such an occurrence and should report any possibility to their supervisor or the nearest Police Officer (if available).  The Safety Officer must be informed.  Stewards should also seek to defuse any situation they may see arising.

11.2 Minor Incursions Onto The Pitch

If an invasion is carried out by a small number of persons, it will be the responsibility of the Stewards to deal with the matter.  The offenders should not be chased onto the playing area but should be apprehended when they seek to re-enter the spectator area.

Offenders should be removed forthwith to the custody of the Police.  Stewards removing offenders should only use such reasonable force as is necessary to maintain control of the person apprehended.  Stewards should also take care to remember the identity of any person apprehended.

If violent action is being taken against any player or official the Stewards and Club Officials should seek to stop the incident and remove the offender to the control area for detention.

11.3 Major Incursions Onto The Pitch

Major incursions will be regarded as a “serious incident” and the Safety officer will assume control of the situation.  Stewards will follow all instructions given until such time as order has been restored.

11.4 Match Postponed Prior To Spectators Admission

Every effort will then be made to inform the media and transport authorities in order to advise spectators at the earliest opportunity of the situation.  If the decision is made at such a time that spectators are in the vicinity of the ground, announcements should be made via the PA system…….”IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CLUB’S POLICY, TICKET HOLDERS WILL BE ADVISED THAT TICKETS ARE VALID FOR THE RE-SCHEDULED MATCH DATE. ON NO ACCOUNT WILL MONEY BE REFUNDED.

11.5 Match Postponed after Spectators Admission

As soon as a decision is made the Safety Officer must be advised.  The Safety Officer will immediately ensure, via Stewards, that all access to the ground is stopped and prepare to open exit gates for egress of spectators. 

August 2022