After a fatal crowd crush in December of the previous year, the O2 Academy Brixton has made a commitment to make its entrances “more secure” as part of its fight to remain open.
After the deaths of security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, at the venue, the venue in south London had its license temporarily revoked.
Fans who did not have tickets attempted to get into an event that was being performed by the Nigerian musician Asake.
The licensing panel of the Lambeth Council is currently deliberating its fate at this time.
It will be having a hearing over the course of two days to decide whether or not the location is secure enough for use.
The Academy Music Group (AMG), the company that operates the venue, is looking into a number of different safety precautions and is considering making the doors far more robust.
“Discrimination based on race”
It occurred as the mob spilled into the foyer towards the auditorium and pushed over people who had fallen to the floor when the doors were burst.
AMG has stated that adjustments to its operating standards have been developed by “leading professionals” in order to prevent a repeat of the incidents that occurred the previous year.
Philip Kolvin KC, speaking on behalf of AMG, stated that the firm has expressed its “profound sorrow” for the anguish given to the families of those who passed away and acknowledged that “things went very wrong” the previous year.
After being injured in the crush, Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both passed away in the hospital.
He went on to say that the venue has been operated for the past 20 years by AMG, and that the company had done “all that it could to analyze what went wrong.”
Mr. Kolvin stated that the new safety measures that AMG is planning to implement will be “stronger” than the ones that were in place the previous year and will include making “the doors more secure.”
In spite of the fact that it was shuttered in 2023, the facility nevertheless managed to rack up maintenance and improvement costs totaling £1.2 million.
The venue is considering doing a more in-depth risk assessment for each performance, taking into consideration the genre of music being played and the age range of the audience members. The results of this evaluation will be communicated to the local government and the Metropolitan Police Department in advance.
On the other hand, the chairman of the subcommittee, Councillor Fred Cowell, voiced fears that the new method could become a “proxy for racial discrimination.”
In response, Mr. Kolvin stated that “black music is the cultural beating heart” of the nation, and he stated that AMG wanted event attendees to “have a good time but go home alive.”
The meeting adjourned into a private session in order to explore additional specifics of the incident that occurred the previous year.
The committee was informed that 165 members of the venue’s security staff were employed for the Asake event, which was the biggest number of security personnel that the venue has ever employed.
In the later part of Monday’s proceedings, the committee is anticipated to hear from the Metropolitan Police Department, which has requested a permanent shutdown.
Gerald Gouriet KC, who represented the Met at an earlier licensing meeting, stated that there were approximately one thousand individuals gathered outside the venue when the police discovered “large-scale disorder.” Eventually, the crowds were able to force open the doors of the club.
Following the crush, claims of corruption were raised, which prompted the opening of an investigation by the police as well as an investigation by the Security Industry Authority.
A woman of 21 years of age who was hurt in the crush is still being treated in the hospital and is in severe condition.