Watford Council Big Events failed to keep visitors safe during Cinema Tour at local parks as police look to find suspect

The safety for members of the public attending events should be of paramount importance and is a legal requirement which organisers failed to gain control of a volatile situation.

A man was assaulted after security staff brought two men over to a suspect and did not attempt to keep distance between them, nor take control of the situation to keep everyone safe at the Cinema Tour at Woodside.

Police are looking to speak to the men who confronted the victim on 22nd August at 3:30pm.

A family had reported to security that a man had been using his mobile phone to take photos on their children in the park at a public event. 

big events, outdoors, cinema, screen, people, park, Woodside playing fields,
The family and children were in the distance (left)

The safety is the organisers’ responsibility for organising events to run safely and successfully and they also have a duty of care for the people who attend.

Event organisers have a duty of care to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for attendees and staff alike.

Yet staff member 617 brought the men over to the suspect who was in a wooded area at the time.  The men confronted the photographer in a somewhat aggressive manner.  MJ staff did not act as an intermediate to keep the men separated in case of violence, failing to handle the situation properly.

Staff allowed the men who were not wearing face coverings to get within inches of each other, no social distancing was implemented which has been in force since 24th July.

The victim told the men he was media, at this point the man in the dark T-shirt claimed to work for the Watford Observer.  He was accusing the victim to have taken photos of his children, even though this was in a public park event and is totally legal to take photos even of anyone including children, he still demanded to see what photos had been taken on the phone.

The victim was in fear due to the nature of the aggressive harassment, and the MJ staff was allowing it to happen without any intervention.  The victim got out his phone to show them his recent photos but first due to fear of his safety he attempted to make a short video recording of the men. But as he got to the third person who was highly active and moving his arms about a lot, launched a punch which hit the victims hand, the phone went flying and unfortunately, the video stopped with the force of the blow.

The phone was picked up by one of the men and passed to the MJ staff 617 who then accessed the phone and tried to find the pictures but was not sure where to look, so the victim said he would do it because he had personal and private contents on his device.   The men watched him open the photo gallery and saw the two photos of the big screen, followed by two photos of an animal cage of which the victim commented (this is why I’m at the edge of the field gathering branches for my pet Gecko.

The victim was shaken by the incident and upon leaving the area got home and was still shaking caused by the distress.

Staff going through someone’s phone without consent is a trespass of goods and is covered not only by the common law, but also by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977

Seems that this was an overprotective attitude to bully and vent some anger and frustration on an innocent member of the public.  If anyone witnessed or knows the man in the video please contact PC Keen 445, quoting Crime reference Number 41/67619/20

It seems a site specific Risk Assessment which is an essential part of organising a successful event was not implemented. It is supposed to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the event.

Organisers must have public liability insurance for these events. The policy cover must be for a minimum indemnity sum of £5 million per incident.

There seems to have been no crowd management, which includes audience profile and crowd dynamics, and entry or exit.

BIG SCREEN CANCELLED – all films screenings on Tuesday 25 August have been cancelled. This is for the safety of film-viewers and the potential risk.

Questions we want Watford Borough Council to answer

Do they have a ‘Safer Venues accreditation’

The Watford and Three Rivers Safety Advisory Group (SAG) is made up of a cross-section of agencies, particularly Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council, the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, and Hertfordshire Highways.