'It will be challenging': Music events across Glasgow double as top cop speaks out
AS GLASGOW is set to host a record number of music events this summer, city cops are prepared to help deal with hundreds of thousands of gig-goers.
The number of concerts being held across the city in the coming weeks has almost doubled from any other year, due to Covid preventing shows from going ahead previously.
Big artists will be taking to stages and performing at several venues across the city – including Ibrox, which will see its first live concert in more than a decade.
As well as the usual OVO Hydro, music fans will be gathering in Glasgow Green for the popular three-day festival TRNSMT, and Guns N’ Roses.
In the Southside, Bellahouston Park will be hosting Green Day and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
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Hampden Stadium will see big names including Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Calvin Harris, Gerry Cinnamon, and Coldplay take to the stage. Meanwhile, rock band Primal Scream will entertain fans in Queen’s Park.
Harry Styles, a former band member of One Direction, will perform at Ibrox Stadium tonight – the first artist since Bon Jovi in 2007. Despite the tickets selling out within minutes, only one show has been arranged and a policing plan is in place.
The Glasgow Times exclusively spoke with Superintendent Emma Croft, who is in charge of the plans for all events across Greater Glasgow.
She makes the assessment of the number of resources and police officers that will be required.
At Harry Styles tonight, officers will be on hand to help with the arrival of thousands of fans into the stadium, supporting the event organisers within the venue during the event, and helping to make sure people get home safely.
“The reduced train timetables have caused some challenges shall we say, which are picked up by our broader transport partners as well as ourselves,” Superintendent Croft said.
“There is an impact on those attending concerts. But in terms of the later events, the train times wouldn’t necessarily impact because some of them would finish beyond the last trains anyway.
"The advice being put out by event organisers and transport services, which we are supporting, is to consider your transport plans in advance, and consider the safest way you can attend the events and more importantly, how you’re getting home.”
Several road closures have been put in place around Ibrox today. Supt Croft said: “The reason that a lot of roads are closed is because Ibrox is a residential area, and the crowds will take over these roads.
“The traffic management plan has been put together by the event organisers in consultation with the local authority and we will support that.
“We will determine the policing resource and plan based on the environment. So, if it’s a closed stadia that will be a slightly different plan from an open parkland like Bellahouston or Glasgow Green.
“We take the demographic of the concert into consideration. For instance, Harry Styles we know will be a younger demographic, and we’ll work with event organisers to identify any additional needs that those attending will have.”
More officers will be in the city over the weekend of TRNSMT which runs July 8 to 10.
“This plan will be in place through the day and night until the end of the festival each day”, Supt Croft said.
“We will support the crowds as they leave and head into the city centre and to the various transport networks.
“The festival has a positive impact on the city. We have a lot of people who arrive in Glasgow and then walk to Glasgow Green so it is a busy one, but it’s one that we can manage.
“On the weekends, in particular, we’ll always increase the police presence to support the licensed premises and night-time economy anyway, so we factored that into the planning for TRNSMT to support those who head into the city centre after the festival.
“Glasgow is a big city that’s very welcoming to all these shows, but I would urge people to consider their travel plans and be respectful of each other, so everyone gets the best experience.”
A total of 41 arrests were made during last year's festival, for crimes including assault, breach of the peace, and possession of drugs.
The top cop has urged revellers not to bring any illegal substances to the venue next month.
She said: “There will be dogs at the entrances, as there was last year. We will work on the community well-being plan that we always have, which is to make it as safe as possible for people to arrive and to get in and enjoy themselves.
“Forty-one arrests sounds a big number but that is over three days with up to 40,000 attending on each day.
“Any arrest is a big number, and we don’t want any but unfortunately it comes with the territory.
“I would expect that arrests will be similar this year, but we will do all we can to support and minimise the impact of any.
“My advice would be do not consider bringing any drugs or flares into the venue. Go and enjoy the festival. Stay with your friends, keep your mobile phone charged as best as you can, and behave responsibly.”
Meanwhile, the superintendent urged revellers and football fans attending Hampden to respect the local area. Urinating in the streets and in residents’ gardens has been an ongoing problem for those living near the stadium.
“In terms of anti-social behaviour, if we are in a position to respond immediately, then we will deal with that, whether we issue tickets or take it any further,” Supt Croft explained.
“The areas that are reported to us as being problematic, we will put officers in those areas and we’ll work with the local residents, which we have done with football matches previously.
“We’ve had an increased police presence around the stadium recently for football and part of the planning for these events is to have community reassurance policing, which is essentially local officers out and about in the area providing advice and guidance to residents, but also dealing with any issues that may arise.”
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Hundreds of thousands of fans, including a younger audience, will be heading to the Southside stadium for the Calvin Harris and Gerry Cinnamon shows, amongst others.
Supt Croft said helping to keep people safe is also down to the promoters, but the police will support their plans inside and outside the venue.
She urged gig-goers and football fans to take responsibility and respect the local area, and added: “Please make sure you link in with the communications the concert organisers are providing you in terms of transport and travel plans.
“It will be challenging for us this summer, but it is achievable, and I hope everyone enjoys themselves.”