By Jeff Andrew Lule
Following the 2023 New Year’s tragedy at Freedom City concert where 11 people died in a stampede, the Police have now issued new guidelines for securing concerts, mass gathering and performances, among others.
While addressing journalists at the police’s weekly briefing at the police headquarters, in Naguru, a Kampala suburb, on Monday, January 16, police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the guidelines take immediate effect and have already been sent to the Territorial Commanders and Division Police Commanders.
In the new guidelines, all organisers and promoters must write to the Inspector General of Police indicating where the concerts will be, the number of attendees expected for better planning, and also avail to the IGP the measures they are putting in place for controlling crowds with clear and elaborate access control measures, including (hand probes, walk through machines, K9 and scanners).
Enanga said the organisers must have a plan to deploy private security guards and stewards who are proportionate to the crowds and threat levels; must have a practical and approved management plan, including (access and exit routes, parking centres and how they will be managed); and must show the capacity to handle emergencies, which include medical provisions, ambulances, fire safety systems, and thorough evacuation plans.
Unlike before, under the new guidelines, organisers are also required to provide names and full addresses of the artistes to perform at the given concert.
Enanga said the inspection of venues must also involve local authorities.
“Our checklist as the Police will always be on exit points, effective communication with the organiser and security, practice and rehearsals of drills and ensuring the security guards and stewards are properly trained to check mechanisms by the organisers on keeping watch on all parking places and on surveillance cameras where they are available,” he added.
Enanga said all RPCs and DPCs have been tasked to ensure that “these measures are put in place for any cleared event”.
“They must also ensure that they physically inspect the venues to ascertain the level of preparedness,” he noted.