I thought it would be useful to plough through the turgid, inflated language of the Garda report on the Swedish House Mafia incident and see if it could be turned into plain English. As far as I’m concerned, this document is a classic of its kind, full of official-sounding waffle, but saying little.
It’s the sort of thing we need to rid ourselves of, both in the public and private sectors, because sloppy writing derives from woolly thinking. Whoever wrote this was either afraid or unable to say precisely what he thought.
This is my translation. I don’t think the document loses much of its meaning by being slashed from about 3,000 words to about 600.
I’ve omitted the preamble which explains where it came from: stabbings and fights at a rave in the Park. I’ve also omitted the list of headings and the Yours Sincerely stuff.
Here we go. See what you think.
|Members of Garda management attached to the Blanchardstown District formed part of the event management structure and liaised with MCD Productions and other stakeholders in the planning phase for the three concerts. This pre-event planning process resulted in the development of a customised Event Management Plan and Event Control Manual for the three concerts in addition to An Garda Síochána’s Policing Plan, Traffic Management Strategy and Risk Assessment for the events. Risk management was an integral part of the event planning process undertaken by An Garda Siochana in the planning of policing operations for the concerts held in the Phoenix Park, Consequently. during the pre-event planning phase An Garda Siochana raised a number of concerns with the concert promoters regarding the sale of alcohol, gate opening times and stewarding of the concerts.||We told the promoters that there could be problems due to drink, gate opening times and stewarding of the concerts.|
|An Garda Siochana’s review of the pre-event management activities and the policing arrangements implemented at the Swedish House Mafia concert makes a number of recommendations under the following headings:||Our recommendations are under these headings|
|Selection of concert venueThe Phoenix Park is not a suitable venue for large scale outdoor ‘electric music” concerts of the kind which took place on the 7th July 2012. The Swedish House Mafia concert on the 7m July was the first large scale outdoor ‘electric music’ concert held in the Phoenix Park. The Phoenix Park is an urban location in close proximity to a wide population demographic. In the recent past similar concerts were held at the Oxygen Festival, which is located in a rural location with limited access. This reduces the number of non-concert patrons congregating in the vicinity of the concert and the probability of potential public order incidents. There were no indicators during the pre-event planning process of the unsuitability of the Phoenix Park for this type of concert. This location differed from Oxygen Festival in that patrons had a separate camp site from the concert area where they could congregate in a controlled environment under the supervision of security/steward personnel and members of An Garda Siochana.||Dance music attracts a rough crowd and it’s too easy for troublemakers to get into the Phoenix Park.|
|An Garda Siochana recommends that concert promoters and licensing authorities give greater consideration to the selection of concert venue for this type of music, its appropriateness for the anticipated crowd demographic, the potential to attract non-patrons to the vicinity of the concert and the impact of inclement weather on the venue’s ground conditions.||Promoters and licensing authorities should choose a venue where people can’t get near the show unless they have tickets. It shouldn’t be too muddy.|
|In addition. An Garda Siochana recommends that concert promoters tendering for contracts to promote concerts in OPW or other public locations are required to stipulate the artists/type of music e.g. ‘electric music’ that they intend to perform at each concert date as well as providing a detailed risk assessment based on the type of audience which is likely to attend the event. In this instance the artists were not confirmed until the 7′ March 2012.||Promoters should give plenty of warning if they’re going to put on a rave.|
|Culture of alcohol consumptionAn Garda Siochana’s experience from previous large scale outdoor events indicates that concert patrons in the 17 — 25 age group prefer to purchase alcohol at off-licence premises prior to attending a concert than consuming alcohol within the venue. This may be attributable to the Irish culture on the consumption of alcohol and the cost of alcohol within a concert venue. Due to this preference, the result will be individuals consuming alcohol in the vicinity of concert venues, as upon entry to these venues the alcohol will be seized by security/steward personnel and members of An Garda Siochana. This in turn is a contributory factor in the volume of anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of concert venues. An Garda Siochana is aware that the Minister has indicated his intention to bring forward proposals aimed at curbing excessive alcohol consumption.||People drink before going to the gig, and try to smuggle in alcohol though the gate because it’s too dear inside.Some of them get very drunk and start fights.|
|The composition of the on-site Event Control CentreThe size of the Event Control Centre provided by MCD Productions was not fit for purpose. An Garda Siochana requested additional accommodation in the centre. The Concert Promoters gave an undertaking this would be facilitated but it failed to materialise. The CCTV for the venue was controlled by a contactor on behalf of the Concert Promoters. Consequently, An Garda Siochana had limited access to its functionality. This resulted in it not being possible for a member of An Garda Siochana to be employed to monitor the CCTV footage on a continuous basis for items of Garda interest that may be relevant to the policing of the event. An Garda Siochana had to request the contractor to monitor areas in response to reports of incidents instead of An Garda Siochana being able to proactively monitor the crowds using CCTV. An Garda Siochana will require priority access to the CCTV system in the Event Control Centre for future events in the Phoenix Park.||We told the promoters our tent was too small but they ignored us. We couldn’t see the crowd properly on the CCTV.This has to change.|
|The requirement for all relevant statutory agencies to be present at the on-site Event Control CentreAn Garda Siochana recommends that representatives front the HSE/ Ambulance control and Dublin fire Brigade are present in the Event Control Centre for future events of the nature of these concerts to enable efficient communications among the statutory agencies and an immediate response should it be necessary to declare an emergency and hand over control to the relevant statutory agency.||Ambulance people, fire officers and Gardai should all be in the same tent so that they can talk to each other.|
|Security / stewardingIt was the responsibility of the security/steward personnel to conduct full bag searches and utilised Hand-Held Metal Detection Wands in addition to cursory pat-down searches of the patrons attending at each concert date.The high volume of incidents at the entrance gate search areas coupled with the large number of breaches in the perimeter fencing, indicate that MCD Productions did not have appropriate security measures in place for the Swedish House Mafia concert and the associated crowd demographic. This is evidenced by the logs in respect of the deploynent of security/steward personnel at the entrance gate search areas and the quality and installation of the perimeter fence. An Garda Siochana recommends that concert promoters review their policy and procedures regarding the searching of patrons attending concerts in relation to the potential crowd demographic and arrival rates. An Garda Sfochana also recommends that concert promoters review the quality and installation of perimeter fencing utilised at outdoor concerts in the Phoenix Park as in this instance the perimeter fence was breached on numerous occasions.||The security didn’t search the crowd properly for drink or weapons, and it was easy to sneak in through the fence.|
|In relation to the checking of patron’s identity to ascertain their age it is apparent that security/steward personnel were unclear on MCD Productions policy in this area and it was not strictly adhered to. An Garda Siochana will require security/steward personnel to receive specific instruction on their responsibility with regard to validation of patron’s ages prior to entry to a concert venue.||The security should have checked people’s ages but didn’t.|
|In addition, there was uncertainty on the behalf of security/steward personnel in respect of their responsibility with regard to the removal of intoxicated patrons from the concert venue. For future concerts in the Phoenix Park. An Garda Siochana will require security/steward personnel to receive specific instruction on their responsibility with regard to the removal of intoxicated patrons from the concert venue. Security/steward personnel must be given specific instruction in respect of intoxicated patrons attempting to enter the site and similar instructions are necessary in respect of those patrons who become intoxicated while on site. Specific instructions must also be given to security/steward personnel in relation to dealing with drug abuse and. in particular, incidents of drug dealing which come to their attention.||The security didn’t know how to handle people who were drunk or drugged.They also didn’t know what to do about drug dealers. They should be trained in future.|
|The provision of Welfare Tents within a concert venue by concert promoters MCI) Productions provided a Welfare Tent for the concert on the 7 July. The Welfare Tent is used by Medical Staff employed by the concert promoter to monitor the condition of patrons who are brought to the tent under the influence of intoxicants (drugs/alcohol). The absence of a Welfare Tent at the other two concerts increased the calls to the medical staff within the venue and requests for ambulance services to transfer intoxicated individuals to hospital for medical assistance. An Garda Siochana recommend that a Welfare Tent is provided at all concerts regardless of attendance size.||There should be a tent for people who are drunk or drugged. There was none at the other two shows, so ambulances had to be called instead.|
|The utilisation of temporary concert signage MCI)Productions used wooden staked temporary signage in the Phoenix Park to inform patrons of the venue layout. Individuals were able to remove the staked signs from the ground and the wooden stakes had the potential to become offensive weapons. An Garda Siochana recommend that this signage is no longer used by concert organisers in the Phoenix Park.||Some people took the wooden stakes from signs and used them as weapons. A different sign system is needed.|
|The security of temporary outdoor lighting by concert promotersMCD Productions provided outdoor lighting in the vicinity of the concert to assist patrons egress from the concert venue. The design of the tower lighting systems required the key to be left in the ‘on-position’ to operate the lights. Some of these lighting systems were left unattended. Consequently unknown individuals removed the keys from these lighting systems thereby making them redundant. An Garda Siochana recommends that appropriate security be provided by concert promoters to their lighting systems which will eliminate this issue.||People switched off some of the lights. Promoters should make sure this can’t happen again.|
|The utilisation of Grid Location Systems by concert promotersA Grid Location System was utilised by MCD Productions to identify incident locations within the concert venue. However, the absence of a physical marking system on the site to cross reference with the Grid location system distinctly disadvantaged members of An Garda Siochana on the ground. This contributed to a delay in members of An Garda Siochana arriving at the location of some incidents. This matter was identified at the first concert on the 5th July. Consequently, An Garda Siochana brought forward the briefing time for the remaining concerts to afford Garda personnel additional time in advance of the gate opening times to orientate themselves with the venue. Concert promoters should provide a physical marking system on the site to enable cross reference with the Grid system.||The grid numbers should be marked on the ground so that we can find them quickly.|
|The transportation of prisoners front within the concert venueThe adverse weather made the ground conditions unsuitable for the large vehicular access required by the prison vans. The event management team had laid a circular track around the perimeter or the concert venue which they travelled with light vehicular buggies. The larger Garda prison vehicles were unable to utilise this access track resulting in prisoners being walked from within the concert venue to the nearest entrance gate. For future out-door concerts. An Garda Siochana will insist on the provision by concert promoters of suitable vehicular transport for the removal of prisoners from concert sites where there are poor ground conditions due to inclement weather.||We had to walk prisoners to the entrance because our vans were were too heavy for the mud. In future, promoters will have to provide four-wheel drives|
|Public Order Unit and Reserve UnitsThe proactive deployment of two public order units for the duration of the concert on the 7th July was very effective. They responded to public order incidents and performed the role of a reserve unit responding to public order incidents of a minor nature and as a snatch squad to arrest prisoners within the concert venue. It is now clear that had An Garda Siochána been fully briefed on the likely conduct of the patrons associated with the Swedish House Mafia concert a separate public order unit would have been employed within the concert venue to perform the role of a snatch squad if required and separate reserve units to respond to incidents of a minor nature. In addition the use of the public order units to conduct a sweep of the Phoenix Park after the concert to remove individuals was an effective public order tactic.||If MCD had told us there would be a rough crowd, we’d have sent in more people.|
|Prisoner Management at the Bridewell Garda StationThe Swedish House Mafia concert on the 7th July was the first time the Prison Section at the Bridewell Garda Station was used for the processing of prisoners arrested at concerts in the Phoenix Park. This system was very effective and will be incorporated into future policing plans for events of a similar nature in the Phoenix Park.||We did a very good job handling the prisoners.|
|In conclusion, there are a number of lessons to be learned by all agencies in respect of the staging of large outdoor concerts in the Phoenix Park. An Garda Siochana’s recommendations are wide ranging. incorporating matters that impact on the event management of such large scale events in the pre-planning and implementation phases. There is a necessity for all stakeholders to proactively engage at the pre-event planning phase where communication and shared understanding will enable all concerned to facilitate similar events in the future. It must be appreciated that these events are dynamic in nature and must be continuously assessed and managed as they require a spontaneous response to incidents as they arise.||We all need to talk more before these shows go ahead. We also need to watch the crowd carefully while the show is going on.|
|Finally. a full review of these concerts is being conducted with MCD Productions and the other stakeholders. Dialogue is continuing with the promoters and others engaged in the running of the concert to ensure. to the greatest extent possible. that the lessons learned are incorporated into future event planning to mitigate against recurrence of similar situations arising in the future, including all upcoming concerts and other major events.For its part, An Garda Siochana will insist that all practical steps are taken aimed at preventing a reoccurrence of the type of disorder which took place at the concert on the 7th July 2012.||MCD will have to do a better job in future.|
That’s about it. If you think it loses any of its meaning, let me know. I did it in a hurry, with the aid of an OCR program to convert the scanned PDF images to text, so there could easily be some absurdities. I might also have dropped something vitally important, and if so, please tell me.
Now. The signature at the bottom of this report is that of Martin Callinan, the Garda Commissioner. Let’s be charitable and assume that he didn’t actually write the report himself, but simply endorsed it. Nevertheless, the top man in our national police force thought this document was of a standard fit to be published, and was willling to be associated with it.
You wouldn’t accept this standard of written English from an eighteen-year-old work-experience intern, and yet, our most senior policeman seems happy to put his name at the bottom of it.
Based on the table above, here’s what the report might look like if the author had the confidence to write plain English instead of Garda-speak.
After violence broke out at the Swedish House Mafia concert at the Phoenix Park on the 7th July 2012, we have reviewed the event’s planning to see how it could have been improved.
We warned the promoters that there could be problems due to drink, gate opening times and stewarding of the concerts but they didn’t listen and there was trouble.
Dance music attracts a rough crowd and it’s too easy for troublemakers to get into the Phoenix Park. Promoters and licensing authorities should choose a venue where people without tickets can’t get near the show and where the ground won’t get too muddy.
Promoters should give us plenty of warning if they’re going to put on a rave.
People drink before going to the gig, and try to smuggle in their own alcohol because the stuff inside is too dear. Some of them get very drunk and start fights.
We told the promoters our tent was too small but they did nothing about it. We weren’t able to watch the crowd properly on the CCTV. This will have to change.
Ambulance people, fire officers and Gardai should all be in the same tent so that they can talk to each other.
The security staff didn’t search the crowd properly for drink or weapons, they failed to check people’s ages, they didn’t know how to handle drunks, or people using drugs, and they didn’t know what to do about drug dealers. They should be trained better in future.
There should be a welfare tent for people who are drunk or drugged, no matter how small the crowd. Otherwise, ambulances have to be called, which is wasteful.
The wooden stakes from signs could be used as weapons. A different sign system is needed.
Some of the lights were tampered with. Promoters should make sure that can’t happen in future.
The grid numbers should be marked on the ground so that we can find them quickly.
We had to walk prisoners to the gates because our vans couldn’t get through the mud. In future, promoters will have to provide suitable transport.
If MCD had told us there would be a rough crowd, we’d have sent in more people but we did a great job handling prisoners back at the station.
In future, we all need to talk more before shows go ahead and we also need to watch the crowd carefully.
MCD had better watch themselves in future.