An investigation to determine what caused the stampede at Nigerian singer Asake’s 2022 concert at the O2 Academy Brixton in London has uncovered a protracted cycle of corruption and misconduct among the security personnel in charge at the venue.
According to reports, the guards collected bribes to let ticketless people into the concert. As a result of the overcrowding, emergency services rushed to the venue and ended the show shortly after it started. However, two people died, including a security guard, with several others injured.
One of the officers in charge at the 5k capacity arena, using the fake name Rohan, revealed that the act had been ongoing since 2009. He continued that some of his colleagues made up to £1,000 from such bribes and accused the security firm, AP, contracted to secure the venue of being aware.
“There were people taking money… Some staff made £1,000 cash,” a guard, who is employed by AP Security, told the BBC. “Our company knew what was going on and they knew the people who were doing it, and they did nothing about it.”
Rohan admitted that there were only 110 security guards on duty on the night of the event, as against 190.
Commenting on the tragedy, he said it was “like being in a car crash that’s been really awful – being crashed on and stamped on.”
He mentioned that it got worse as word of the breach spread and more people decided to try their luck.
“When you let a few people in, they would text their friends, and they’ll text their friends. And the bouncers started being greedy, and it got out of hand. And people wanted to come in anyway, without a ticket. You can train someone to the max, but when that happens in front of you, you actually stop… you freeze,” shared Rohan.
The whistle-blower also revealed that the issue of corrupt officers letting ticketless people into concerts had been discussed during staff meetings, but AP Security managers did not punish the accused. There was also talk of the corruption extending to other popular venues in the United Kingdom.