Stormzy joins Krept and Konan at O2 Arena in London
An investigation into the violence found security staff at the venue, Arena Birmingham, suffered ‘unprecedented’ levels of hostility as trouble flared in the crowd and backstage. The BBC had initially refused to release the documents in response to a request under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. But the Corporation has now disclosed a heavily redacted version after news website Metro.co.uk challenged this refusal through the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Krept, real name Casyo Johnson, who is the current presenter of the BBC talent contest The Rap Game UK, was slashed in the leg backstage and needed stitches.
The grime artist later warned the attack could have been fatal if the knife used to attack him had been “a millimetre deeper”.
The Radio 1Xtra gig, which also saw performances from Aitch, French Montana and AJ Tracey, took place on October 5, 2019 and attracted some 9,000 fans.
The censored report also revealed BBC staff suffered “high levels of emotional stress and anxiety as a result of what they witnessed”.
BBC news: The event went ahead despite ‘shortcomings’ being identified in security arrangements.
Arena Birmingham has issued a strong defence, insisting safety and security is a “top priority” and absolutely refutes any claims to the contrary.
The disclosed document from the BBC, headed ‘Initial Security Review, Lessons Learned & Recommendations’, details fears managers had over the event.
The report states: “Director of SSR [Safety, Security and Resilience] initially rated the event as HIGH RISK but the extra security measure put in place, additional security guards and police, reduced that risk to MEDIUM.
“Prior to the start time of 7:45 pm, BBC Corporate Security had identified several shortcomings in the venue’s security solution, whilst minor, if left they could have compromised the integrity of the security plan for the live event.
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BBC news: Krept was slashed across the leg and required stitches
“The venue security manager was receptive to those observations and made the required improvements.”
“The BBC Incident Management Team stopped the show 49 minutes before the planned end as they had lost confidence in the arena’s security teams ability to maintain a safe and secure environment.
“No BBC colleagues were injured during the events that night; however, some have reported high levels of emotional stress and anxiety as a result of what they witnessed.”
Krept was attacked and robbed in a VIP area of the venue, with the newly-disclosed report stating the rapper needed “several stitches” to a “slash wound to his leg” from an on-site paramedic but did not require hospital treatment.
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BBC news: Krept, real name Casyo Johnson, is the presenter of The Rap Game UK
BBC news: The Corporation had initially refused to release the documents
The “lessons learned” and recommendations for future events are heavily redacted, according to Metro.co.uk but the BBC admitted it should have deployed its own extra security guards to check that “venue security measures were being delivered”.
The disclosure of the report was only made by the BBC after Metro.co.uk said it challenged the broadcaster’s initial refusal to release it, which was made under a section of the Act granting exemptions for law enforcement reasons.
But the news website claimed a justification for secrecy was a mistaken reference to a request for a police crime reference number, which had not been made.
The ICO said in its ruling: “The Commissioner does not consider that all of the information contained within the report is captured by the exemption and she is concerned that section 31 has been applied in a blanket fashion.”
The information watchdog also provided a confidential annex solely to the BBC showing the information which should be made public.
It found: “The Commissioner’s decision is that section 31 does not apply to all the information which the BBC is withholding.”
BBC news: The Corporation commissioned a full review following the incident
The BBC said in a statement: “Following the incident at 1Xtra Live 2019 in Birmingham, a full review was commissioned by the BBC.
“All the recommendations from this review have been implemented, further strengthening the security of our events with the health and safety of our audience, staff, artists and guests, being our top priority.’
A spokesperson for Arena Birmingham said: “The security and safety of all who visit the venue is always our top priority and we have extremely robust security measures in place.
“We strongly refute any claims that suggest otherwise.
“West Midlands Police investigated the incident that took place on 5th October 2019 and concluded that they were satisfied with our handling of the incident and the additional proactive steps we have taken since.
“No further comment will be provided regarding the incident.
“Working together with local and national authorities, our venue has a multi-layered approach to security to protect visitors and staff.
“We have invested heavily in our security infrastructure to ensure that we provide a safe and secure environment.’
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “We received a number of calls from the public to support our enquiries but the injured party did not want to make a formal complaint.
“We’ve been unable to identify who was responsible but officers will assess any fresh information we receive.”