Questions continue over Brighton Pride station chaos as video emerges

Sussex Police denied asking for the gates to be closed at Brighton station on Saturday night (August 4), but an anonymous member of staff at the station refutes this.

Wednesday, 8th August 2018, 1:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st September 2018, 10:09 am
Police at Brighton station after the Pride Festival (Photograph: Eddie MItchell)

Following Britney Spears' headline set at Brighton Pride Festival at Preston Park on Saturday, there was 'dangerous crowds' at the station, which resulted in the gates at the railway station being closed for 40 minutes at 11.40pm.

Both rail operator Govia Thameslink and Sussex Police denied making the decision to close the gates. Sussex Police was working with the British Transport Police at the station during Pride.

Police at Brighton station after the Pride Festival (Photograph: Eddie MItchell)

But a source who was working at the station said: "The police organised at 11pm was insufficient due to the number of crowds that turned up.

"At 11.20pm 60 to 80 officers and two police horses arrived. At 11.25pm the police asked the Southern manager with the keys to shut the gates and keep them locked. The officer in question was from Sussex Police and not part of the BTP.

"From 11.25pm to 12:45pm the gates were locked. We told police we could allow more people into the station but they said keep the gates locked while we filter the crowd into groups."

Earlier this week Sussex Police said: "British Transport Police (BTP) assisted by Sussex Police officers allowed people to enter the railway station and onto the train as safely as possible. Passengers were held on the concourse to prevent dangerous crowding on the platforms. This is a standard safety precaution.

Crowds outside Brighton Station after Britney performed at Brighton Pride (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

The Sussex Police command team for the operation did not request that the gates at the station be shut. During the planning of the event we made it clear that there needed to be a robust plan at the station and good transport arrangements. This was the responsibility of other partners to arrange."

A Govia Thameslink spokesperson said: "We ran 15 extra trains yesterday to cope with the unprecedented visitor numbers, in addition to the plan agreed with the event organisers. The police closed access to Brighton station and asked us to suspend train services for a period to help with crowding in the town, after which our extra trains helped clear the station steadily. We are again ready to run extra trains this evening."

Govia said it put on extra trains, and boosted capacity by 22,500 when it became apparent 'attendance at Pride was far higher than had been forecast by the organisers'.

Brighton and Hove City Council said 450,000 flocked to the city over the Brighton Pride Weekend.

After some were unable to travel home on Saturday night, some revellers reportedly slept on the beach.

British Transport Police has been contacted for a statement, which it said it will publish later today (August 8).

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