A joint statement from British Transport Police and Sussex Police was released yesterday and reveals officers did in fact order the closure of the gates at Brighton Station following dangerous overcrowding after Pride.
Britney Spears’ Brighton and Hove Pride performance at Preston Park on Saturday 4 August saw a staggering 57,000 people attended the park in the evening to see the American pop sensation in action.
However once the concert had finished at around 10:30pm, chaos at Brighton Station came after thousands of concert goers headed for the station which subsequently saw the city experience an exceptionally high volume of people at Brighton Railway Station.
It was then reported that huge crowds were left stranded for several hours with many having to sleep on the beach after the stations gates were padlocked shut.
In response to this, on Monday 6 August Sussex Police stated: “The Sussex Police command team for the operation did not request that the gates at the station be shut.”
However in a joint statement released yesterday (August 8) from Chief officers from both Sussex Police and British Transport Police, the two Police forces now admit that the decision to close the station gates was made by a Sussex Police officer and that it, “was made on safety grounds” adding, “this decision was necessary in order to prevent further harm coming to passengers and staff within the station.”
The statement concluded that the two forces will continue to scrutinise the decisions made that night and will work with the train operating company and station management team to ensure that lessons are learnt.
The full joint statement released yesterday from British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Doyle and Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry reads: “Saturday saw thousands of people descend on Brighton as part of the Pride celebrations in the city.
“Following the celebrations and the event at Preston Park, an exceptionally high volume of people arrived at Brighton railway station to make their return journeys. Due to a number of factors, the number of people who came to the station at once were unprecedented.
“It was evident that the queuing system at the station was unable to cope with the number of people, resulting in potentially dangerous overcrowding on the concourse and platforms. This was compounded by the availability of trains at the relevant time.
“Just after 11pm, a British Transport Police officer asked a Sussex Police officer to go to the front of the station to make an assessment on the number of people arriving. A decision was quickly made by the Sussex Police officer to close the gates, and with the support of station staff, the station was temporarily closed.
“This decision was made on safety grounds to allow the safe departure of passengers on trains. Staggered entry was then managed by police until the station re-opened fully just after midnight.
“Safety is our main priority and this decision was necessary in order to prevent further harm coming to passengers and staff within the station.
“We understand this decision resulted in people being delayed in getting home, but it was essential to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating.
“We will continue to scrutinise our decisions that night and will work with the train operating company and station management team to ensure that the crowd management plans at the station, in particular the queuing arrangements, is reviewed and lessons learnt.
“Once again, we would like to thank the public for their understanding and patience following the Brighton Pride event.”