Investigations launched into allegations of corruption following crowds at the O2 Academy Brixton

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is launching an inquiry into corruption allegations made after last month’s mass crush at the O2 Academy Brixton when two people died.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were fatally injured when unticketed fans attempted to enter a show by Nigerian artist Asake at the south London location on December 15.

A police investigation into the incident has been launched and on Monday the venue’s license was suspended for three months while investigations continue.

Paul Fullwood, SIA director of inspections and enforcement, said Wednesday the panel is assisting the Metropolitan Police in investigating the tragedy.

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Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, was fatally injured when fans attempted to enter without tickets (Met Police/PA)

He said they saw media reports after the broadcast of an episode of BBC File On 4: Catastrophe At The Academy alleging that security personnel at the venue took bribes.

Mr Fullwood said: “As the regulator of the private security industry in the UK, we take allegations of corruption by security forces extremely seriously.

“We opened an investigation today into these allegations which appear to go beyond Brixton O2 Academy.

“We will also review licensing agreements and take appropriate action against individuals or companies engaging in such practices as part of our regulatory licensing responsibilities across the private security industry.”

File On 4 reported that a security guard at the venue told the program that some members of the security staff would each let “a few hundred” people into the venue for money.

“There were people taking money… Some staff made £1,000 in cash,” he told the programme.

“Our company knew what was going on and they knew the people who were doing it,” he added, “and they didn’t do anything about it.”

The decision to suspend the venue’s license for three months was taken by Lambeth Council’s Subcommittee on Licensing. The decision was supported by the venue’s owner, Academy Music Group (AMG), who offered their condolences to the families of those who died in the incident.

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Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, was also fatally injured in the incident (Family Handout)

Met Police representative Gerald Gouriet KC told the subcommittee that the full extent of injuries caused by the crush was still unknown.

“It started at 8 p.m., so I heard that by 9 p.m. a large crowd of about 1,000 people had formed outside the entrance to the site, making every appearance of entering the building,” he said.

“Staff at the venue closed the front doors and called the police for assistance. And we have an appointment for this call, it’s 9:04 p.m. The police arrived at 9:16 p.m.

“When they arrived they found a great deal of disorder, the crowd pushing on the doors and trying to force them open, which they finally did.

“And when the doors were broken down, the crowd poured into the lobby to the auditorium.

“Some of them fell to the ground. Several – we don’t know the total number yet and that will become clear as the investigation progresses – were injured as the crowd pushed on and over those who fell.”

He added that in addition to the two dead, a third person remains in critical condition in hospital after the incident.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/inquiry-launched-into-corruption-claims-after-crowd-crush-at-o2-academy-brixton-42297424.html Investigations launched into allegations of corruption following crowds at the O2 Academy Brixton

Linh

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