Met Police requests permanent closure of O2 Brixton Academy following December crowd crush
In a licensing hearing with Lambeth Council, police said it had "lost confidence" in venue operator AMG
The Met Police has requested permanent closure of London’s Brixton O2 Academy, saying that it had “lost confidence” in operator the Academy Music Group (AMG) following a deadly crowd crush at the venue in December.
In a submission to Lambeth Council dated April 17, the police force requested that the venue be stripped of its licence completely.
It follows a crowd crush at an Asake concert at the venue in December, which left security worker Gabrielle Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, dead as well as a third person critically injured.
A decision on its license has yet to have been made and will be discussed at the next meeting of a council sub-committee, with the next one due to be held on May 15, although the date for the decision on Brixton Academy’s license is yet to be confirmed.
AMG has also submitted its own application for a change to its license, dated March 22, which would keep the venue open if successful.
In January, the venue’s licence was revoked temporarily for a minimum of three months, with a view to reopening after changes had been made to its licence, although now that path appears to be more difficult.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed the move, saying to the PA news agency: "On Monday 16 January, the licence of the O2 Academy Brixton was suspended for three months.
'On 14 April, the Met police submitted an application for a review of [the] premises licence to Lambeth council and will be seeking a revocation of the licence. This matter will be decided at a future council sub-committee hearing on a date to be confirmed," they continued.
AMG has responded by saying that it hopes the venue will be allowed to reopen. A spokesperson for the operator told the Evening Standard: “Academy Music Group has co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred.
“We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely," they continued.
"AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms. The review of our licence will take place through the formal process with Lambeth Council in due course.”
Since having its originally having its licence suspended, more further allegations against the venue surfaced, with one 'whistleblower' who claimed to have worked on the security team alleging that staff would "regularly" accept bribes allowing "a couple of hundred" people without tickets to enter the venue.
The tragic crowd crush occurred on the evening of December 15, 2022. A statement from the Metropolitan Police that night claimed that a "large number of people were attempting to force entry to the venue".
Isaac Muk is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter