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Police want O2 Academy Brixton licence revoked

The Metropolitan Police is "seeking a revocation" of the AMG venue's licence following the fatal crowd crush at a show last December

By James Hanley on 26 Apr 2023

O2 Academy Brixton

O2 Academy Brixton faces the threat of having its licence revoked following an application from the Metropolitan Police.

The Academy Music Group (AMG) venue had its premises licence suspended in the wake of the tragedy at a sold-out, 5,000-cap show by Afrobeats singer/songwriter Asake on 15 December 2022, which was abandoned following reports that “a large number of people breached the entrance doors and gained entry to the venue”.

Two people – concert attendee Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security operative Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both suffered fatal injuries in the incident, while a third person was left in a critical condition.

In its submission to Lambeth Council, the Met says it has “lost confidence in the premises licence holder”.

“On Monday 16 January, the licence of the Brixton O2 Academy was suspended for three months,” says a police statement. “On 14 April, the Met Police submitted an application for a review of 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.”

A spokesperson for Lambeth Council, which has initiated an independent health and safety review of the venue led by former council chief Paul Martin, confirms it has received applications from both the police and the Academy for a licence review and variation, respectively.

“There are currently there are two outstanding applications in relation to the venue, the licence variation and the licence review”

“In January the sub-committee imposed a condition requiring the venue to cease all licensable activities pending it submitting a variation application – and the council granting that application,” the spokesperson tells the Standard. “The operators of the O2 Academy Brixton were required at that last meeting to come up with workable changes to their licence in a way that fully addresses police concerns about the venue’s operations, and ensure no repeat of the tragic events of 15 December, via that variation application.

“The variation application has been made, and will be considered at a licensing sub-committee on a date that will be confirmed shortly. The O2 Academy Brixton will not be able to carry out any licensable activities until after that meeting at the earliest.

“On April 14 an application to review the O2 Academy Brixton’s licence was submitted by the Met Police. That application is now subject to a statutory consultation period. As a result there are currently there are two outstanding applications in relation to the venue, the licence variation and the licence review. Lambeth Council will consider both in due course.”

AMG says that it has “co-operated fully” with both the police and the council since the tragedy took place.

“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,” it says. “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.”


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