Case Studies

London Assembly raises night-time concerns

by Mark Rowe

The tragedy at Brixton Academy must be a wake up call for night-time venues, say London Assembly members. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and and London’s boroughs should do more to make sure licensing conditions for night-time venues in London are enforced, according to an Assembly motion.

The Assembly is calling on the Mayor to instruct his ‘Night Czar‘ (Amy Lamé) to invite all relevant stakeholders including the police, local authorities and the largest security providers to City Hall to discuss bribery allegations (as aired in a BBC Radio 4 File on 4 documentary) and what can be done to combat overcrowding in night-time venues.

Shaun Bailey, who proposed the motion, said: “While the police investigation into the incident is ongoing, it is vital that the Mayor and the Night Czar act now to ensure this never happens again.

”The Night Czar has recently been awarded a significant salary increase, which comes with increased responsibilities to serve Londoners. I am pleased that the London Assembly has approved my motion to call on her and the Mayor to work with all relevant parties to ensure best practice is followed, and to improve data sharing with boroughs so that licensing conditions can be more closely tracked.”

The full text of the motion:

This Assembly notes with concern, the reports from a whistleblower in relation to the Brixton Academy tragedy on 15 December 2022. We further note that police investigations are ongoing as are formal inquiries into the tragedy, including a coroner’s inquest, which will establish the facts and must ensure this cannot happen again.

It was reported that some security guards at Brixton Academy regularly took bribes to let people in without tickets and that there were not enough security guards in place on the night of the tragedy. This allegedly led to hundreds of additional people attending the venue which could have caused an unsafe environment by breaching capacity limits.

This Assembly notes the Economy Committee’s 2021 report, Night Vision, which raises concerns about staff shortages and makes recommendations about the night time economy.

(More in the February and March print editions of Professional Security Magazine.)

Background

Two people died as a result of a crush due to ticketless people seeking entry at a concert by the Afrobeats singer Asake, at London’s Brixton O2 Academy in December. While the Metropolitan Police carry out a ‘complex’ investigation, Lambeth Council has suspended the venue’s licence.

Picture by Mark Rowe, graffiti left on brickwork by queueing fans on Astoria Lane outside the Brixton Academy.

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