Despite hype surrounding Carnage from the Lincoln City Council and the local media, the event passed off “without major incident”. Just one arrest was made by Lincoln Police and Lincoln County Hospital’s A&E experienced a “normal night” with no extra admissions due to Carnage.
The Council voiced serious concerns about safety and binge-drinking, whilst Lincolnshire Police and various partner organisations put on extra staff to cope with the event. Leading up to Carnage, one councillor branded it “disgusting”.
Chief Inspector Kieran English of Lincolnshire Police said: “We had a very positive response from the students out last night who were reassured to see the various agencies working on their behalf to ensure their safety. I would suggest that part of the success of the evening was down to the proactive approach that we took along with other agencies of the Community Safety Partnership. This was a good demonstration of how we can all work together to ensure an event runs smoothly, but also to reassure some of the wider community who had concerns about anti social behaviour in and around this event.”
City of Lincoln councillors have expressed serious concern at Carnage UK holding its bar-crawl event in Lincoln, calling for it to be prevented. The event is due to take place tonight after local councillors voted against it last week.
Neil Murray, Labour Councillor for the Carholme Ward, told the Lincolnshire Echo that the council should do everything in its powers to stop Carnage UK holding an event in Lincoln. When speaking to The Linc, Cllr Murray said: “The council as the licensing authority for the city does not have specific powers to stop events like this but it can…apply pressure on licensees to desist from involvement in events which are likely to be a problem [such as] causing the police to commit resources in case of public order offences. I live in central Lincoln, in the West End, and [binge drinking] is a significant problem for the people I represent.”
Cllr Murray believes that the event will create issues for both students and residents: “After the event, drunk people will make their way home and some will cause problems for their neighbours. Some could become victims of anti-social or criminal behaviour themselves.”
He also said that he has no problem with “people enjoying alcohol responsibly” but has a problem with events which “promote irresponsible behaviour”. He added: “Excessive drinking leads to anti-social behaviour and the last thing the city of Lincoln needs is a massive drinking binge.”
Inspector Dave Legg of Lincolnshire Police said: “Lincolnshire Police do not support this event. However we understand it will be going ahead and therefore it is vital that we Police it appropriately. We have a very strong partnership approach involving all the organisations who have a responsibility to ensure Lincoln remains a safe place to go out. We can draw on the work of previous projects such as the ongoing ‘safe in the city’ project and the ‘feeling funny’ campaign to minimise any risks to participants and others. As with any busy night in the city, we aim to ensure that people can enjoy a safe and responsible night out and that any potential trouble is deterred or dealt with quickly and robustly.”
Lincolnshire Police have the power to stop an event like Carnage from happening if they believe that there is a possible public order issue. However, they accepted that “this event is not illegal and does not require the organisers to seek permission.”
The University of Lincoln and Lincoln Students’ Union said in a joint statement: “[We] do not support Carnage, or any event encouraging ‘binge’ drinking, which may lead to unsafe or anti social behaviour. Both the University and the SU are proactive in advising students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and their personal safety when they are out socially. We advise students that excessive consumption of alcohol can be damaging socially, academically and emotionally – and have long term consequences in terms of health and well being. The University’s bars declined to participate in the Carnage event.”
Lincolnshire Police will have 7 Police Constables, a Police Sgt, a PCSO and 4 Special Constables policing the event. This is more than the usual resources that are allocated or available to Lincoln. Assisting the Police will be 6 evening wardens, around 6 street pastors as well as Addaction Outreach workers in the high street promoting safer drinking. Others that may need to prepare themselves ahead of the event have been alerted, such as A & E at Lincoln Hospital and the four main taxi companies in Lincoln. Councillors have warned that they have to powers to make Carnage UK foot the bill for the extra costs that the event is creating.
A spokesman for Carnage UK said: “[Our] events are carefully planned, organized and managed. They are for undergraduates only with a strictly limited number of tickets sold in advance. VLG [Varsity Leisure Group] has been in communication with both Lincolnshire Police and Councillors to ensure that measures are in place to minimize any potential problems that might arise. VLG wants the students to be safe and for the City of Lincoln to have the benefit of a boost to its late night economy, at a time of recession, without any trouble.”
Carnage UK claims that it chose to hold the event on a Monday in order to relieve local Police of the added pressures they would have faced if it were to be held on a Friday or Saturday night. They also say they have 50 stewards on top of SIA (security industry approved) staff working at each venue. Carnage says it also has “Medical Response Services, registered with the British Ambulance Association, on hand to provide medical care for routine occurrences such as asthma attacks that are a possibility on any occasion.
“Lincoln Council have not contacted us to make any complaints about staging the event in Lincoln. On Wednesday 8th April 2009, a Lincoln Councillor requested information from VLG about the event. VLG provided all of the information requested, in writing, on Tuesday 14th April 2009. The Lincoln councillor, to date, has failed to acknowledge our written communication. Furthermore, the same Lincoln councillor has failed to return our telephone calls.” The organisers say that their events are “void of drinks offers, discounted drinks and drinks promotions.”
Carnage UK is trying to appease the local community by offering to make a donation to a local charity. Any charity which would like to be considered should e-mail email@example.com. The company is also keen to point out that they were approached by Maria Yesufu, Societies and Activities Officer at Lincoln Students’ Union, back in
August 2008. Yesufu sent them an e-mail in which she wrote: “I have got wind that Carnage may be coming to Lincoln and would be very interested to get some more details of this. As we run the student events in Lincoln it would be good to be kept in the loop. Our student union is the biggest venue in Lincoln holding approx 1600 people. As your website says that you end up in a ‘Super club’ this is probably going to be the nearest you would get.”
Dan Windross, Communications Officer for the SU, said: “Last year the Students’ Union did make an initial approach to Carnage to find out some more information about the event. The Engine Shed was never offered as a location for the event, it was simply a request for information. Once the Students’ Union became aware of the full extent and nature of the event, it was decided that this was not something that the Students’ Union would get involved in or promote.”