Blog Post

London has a crowd safety problem it needs to fix

High-profile incidents are leaving Londoners unsure on the safety of live events. Robert Clayton explains how better conditions for staff and better co-ordination with police can help.

The hospitality and live events industry has been hit hard since the beginning of the pandemic. Most of the population were longing to see their friends in cafes, bars and restaurants during lockdown.

Londoners waited patiently for their favourite places to reopen, but issues with staff shortages and safety concerns have since had ramifications for people’s ability to go out and have fun.

We can overcome these problems with improvements to pay and conditions for security staff and a co-ordinated strategy between the Metropolitan Police and policymakers that recognises the urgency of safe hospitality.

Struggling venues and the pay problem

The hospitality industry and live venues lost crucial revenue over lockdown, but the long-term issues for the sector are arguably more profound.

During Covid, many qualified bouncers and stewards found other work which has provided more pay, alongside better hours and conditions. As a result, a shortage of staff available at venues across London has become an increasingly big problem.

The consequences for safety

The issue came to a head during the UEFA Euro 2020 final in July 2021, with ticketless fans causing mayhem by bribing underpaid stewards and barging through locked gates to enter Wembley Stadium.

More recently, O2 Academy Brixton had its license suspended following the deaths of 2 people trapped in a crowd following a concert by Asake.

Incidents like this have caused an erosion of trust. Concerns around safety have crept into people’s decision making.

This is a major concern for many venues yet to fully bounce back financially post-pandemic. They can only do so by making sure the increased number of people keen on a day or night out in the capital post-pandemic feel confident that they can enjoy themselves safely.

Women especially face increased risks on nights out, having to bear the burden of what is known at the “women’s safety tax”.

3 solutions for safer entertainment  

There are three actions Londoners need to see to make our live events industry fit for purpose again:

Better pay and improved working conditions for hospitality jobs

By offering competitive salaries and creating an environment that values and supports employees, venues can attract and retain qualified staff, ensuring adequate safety measures are in place.

Enhanced police and venue co-ordination

Enhanced coordination and communication between the Met police, event organizers, and venue staff can help prevent security breaches and promptly address any issues that arise during events.

Proactive planning, robust crowd management protocols, and appropriate training for stewards and security personnel are key components in ensuring the safety of attendees.

A strategy for live events

Policymakers must collaborate on a coordinated strategy that recognises and addresses the specific safety concerns associated with live events. It’s essential for policymakers to prioritise the safety of attendees and work closely with industry stakeholders to create a safer environment for everyone.


By implementing these suggested measures, the hospitality and live events industry in London can rebuild trust, restore confidence, and provide an enjoyable and secure experience for Londoners and visitors alike.

A joined-up effort on this issue is vital not only for the industry, but also for maintaining London’s reputation as one of the best places to live and visit in the world.