Shortly after UEFA announced an investigation into Sunday's events at the Euro2020 match at Wembley, Brent Scrutiny Committee attempted to find out whether Brent Council was going to hold a review of its own responsibilities in the matter.
Brent Council is responsible for scrutinising all the public safety arrangements at the Stadium and for issuing the safety licence. The Council also chairs the Wembley Stadium Advisory Group.
Recording of yesterday's meeting
Committee Chair, Roxanne Mashari, had to repeatedly remind officers that the Committee had a right and a duty to scrutinise these issues in the light of the seriousness of what had taken place. Residents need to be reassured that concerns were addressed and that similar events would not happen again.
In response officers said it was too soon after the event to consider these issues and wanted to wait until Tuesday's meeting with partners in the SafetyAdvisory Group for information that would be forthcoming. The Advisory Group includes the Council, Police, Wembley Stadium and the Football Association. It was evident that Chris Bryant, representing the FA, had been taken by surprise by the UEFA announcement.
Chris Whyte for Brent Council outlined the Council's role and particularly the activities of the Council's two Public Safety Officers who were present before, during and after events to check arrangements both inside and outside the stadium. Such arrangements included how the checking of tickets at turnstiles was managed; management of licensed premises inside the stadium; management of the seating arrangements once the match started; crowd management outside the stadium including the enforcement of Public Space Prohibition Orders over illegal trading, advertising, ticket touting; and working with partners via the Stadium Control Room bringing any incidents to their attention. No councillor questioned whether two Public Safety Officers were sufficient for such a large stadium with 60,000 plus attending.
Whyte clarified it was only the Council's operation alplan that he was responsible for signing off, and not those covering policing and stewarding. The plan was forwarded to the CEO and Council Leader. The police and Wembley Stadium made their own risk assessments for specific events and subsequent deployment decisions.
Cllr Hassan wanted to know the terms of reference for any inquiry and what it would cover and whether the Council deployed different numbers for different events. Chris Whyte said it was too early to discuss terms of reference for an inquiry and the Council should wait for the meeting with other stakeholders. The level of resources that the Council had deployed recognised the importance of Euro2020 ands was well in excess of the number that would be deployed at a Spice Girls concert.
Cllr Mashari was frustrated at not being able to get a clear commitment to a public review by the Council itself and her suggestion that the Committee recommend that Tuesday's stakeholders meeting should be held in public was rejected. Cllr Janice Long suggested that this demand amounted to grandstanding and Mashari should not believe everything she read in the papers. Cllr Mashari said the allegation of grandstanding diminished the seriousness of the incident where people were injured and a tragedy could have happened.
Video Evidence in Tos Atkins' BBC Report HERE
After further discussion when most members agreed to wait for more information, the Committee agreed that information from the Safety Advisory Group, including the Minutes, should be brought to the next Scrutiny Committee meeting and made a recommendation that the Cabinet undertake a public review of lessons learnt from Sunday's incidents.
The leader of the Council, Muhammed Butt, was present latterly during the discussion but did not take part.
Another informative article worth reading revealing there were advance plans for fans to 'jib' into the stadium- points to a failure in pre-match intelligence: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/euro-2020-wembley-security-failings-b1884231.html