No action to be taken after Wembley Arena called ‘most unsafe venue’
Despite safety concerns raised at a licensing review for the arena on Tuesday (March 28), the licence will not be changed or revoked.
Brent Council’s alcohol and entertainment licensing sub-committee heard two allegations, after a dad alleged there were “significant child protection issues” at the venue after attending a Black Stone Cherry & Darkness concert on February 4 this year.
He claimed that a steward had lost his temper at young children, including his son, alleging that his boy was threatened with “extreme violence” and the steward said they were going to “physically drag him down”.
The committee also heard that a woman accused a security guard of stopping and searching her for no reason and “feeling [her] breasts” at an event in October 2022.
She said the venue’s staff are “absolutely appalling” and called the arena the “most unsafe venue” she has been to.
The woman added: “I was interfered with and I have still not to this day received an explanation as to why. I was searched with palms and they felt my breasts, that’s sexual assault.”
After being searched she claims she was physically assaulted and detained by eight security staff, who she described as intimidating, completely out of control, and with no visible ID badge.
She said stitches she had before the event “were ripped [and] they all went septic.”
The other claimant also said that there was no visible ID badge during his incident at the concert this year.
The review was initiated by the dad who says his son was scolded by a steward for standing up in excitement in the seated area.
According to the complainant, the young boy was later “held against his will from his parent”.
While the attendee was standing – despite being instructed not to – he claims he was grabbed around the waist and was aggressively pushed and shoved.
It was claimed that senior staff failed to act with impartiality after reporting the issue, and the dad alleged the head of security was not wearing any clear identification.
Metropolitan Police confirmed they are investigating reports of an “altercation”.
Rather than seeking to have the venue’s licence revoked or suspended, the applicant sought to have more than 20 amendments made to the existing licence.
These changes included giving children a wristband upon entry to identify them, having CCTV in all public places except the toilets, body-worn cameras to be worn by security, and banning staff from touching or restraining children unless in self-defence or if the child is in danger.
Matthew Phipps, the legal counsel for AEG Facilities UK Limited – the licence holder for the OVO Arena Wembley – told the meeting that the dad’s complaint was “not a fair representation of what occurred” and had made “something out of nothing”.
He said: “This is an unreasonable application that is supported by an unreasonable representation.
“It is a significant and damning allegation were it to be true.”
Mr Phipps also disputed the claims made by the woman due to them not being supported by their CCTV recordings.
Following a lengthy deliberation, the sub-committee opted against making any changes to the existing licence.
The council’s legal advisor, Archie Madden, read out a statement and said although the application was “not frivolous”, the committee did not think either allegation required steps to be taken.
It did however suggest AEG Facilities reviews its complaints system.