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Eurovision lessons to inform future events policing strategies

Liverpool_Eurovision sign _ The Soloveiko Songbird, Liverpool One
Liverpool Eurovision sign: The Soloveiko Songbird, Liverpool One

Researchers will highlight lessons learned from staging the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool to inform future large-scale multi agency operations.

A team from Edge Hill University explored Liverpool’s multi-agency approach to the planning and delivery of Eurovision 2023, facilitated by Merseyside Police and Culture Liverpool.

Academics from the University’s School of Law, Criminology and Policing, Dr Mike Smith, Dr Becky Phythian, Dr Lauren Swan-Keig and Lawrence Forrest, are carrying out research on two particular elements.

Dr Smith is leading research on the relationships and dialogue between different organisations, while Dr Phythian is examining the multi-agency approach to information sharing, forming part of her UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

In the months of planning for Eurovision 2023, the team from Edge Hill attended various multi-agency meetings, as well as a multi-agency tabletop exercise held at the M&S Bank Arena.

During Eurovision week, the team was granted access-all-areas to attend the Joint Command Centre and the M&S Bank Arena. This enabled them to carry out field observations of multi-agency working during a live event.

Dr Phythian said: “Having behind the scenes access to see first-hand the partnership working that goes into staging multi-agency operations like Eurovision was incredible.

“Working closely with Merseyside Police and Culture Liverpool, our observations and learning from the event will help inform future large-scale operations, as well as identify areas where things could be done differently.”

Dr Smith added: “Liverpool has a history of hosting events for thousands of people, from football and other sports to cultural events and protests.

“What we learn from the organisation of Eurovision and how relationships between organisations working together to help the event run safely and smoothly can be applied to help facilitate the safe delivery of large-scale events in Merseyside and further afield.” 

Given the success of the event in Liverpool, research will enable key learning to be captured and shared, focusing on what works and what could be improved when multiple agencies work together to plan and deliver a large-scale live event.

Edge Hill has since hosted a debrief of the cyber planning and response to Eurovision, promoting learning at a national level.

The research is being supported by Professor Peter Millward from Liverpool John Moores University and Professor Stuart Kirby from UCLan.

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Davies, of Merseyside Police, said: “I am delighted that Edge Hill University has agreed to work with Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council to assess the extent, style and success of the multi-agency partnership working in relation to Liverpool hosting Eurovision 2023.

“We have a strong history in delivering safe and impactive ‘mega events’ in Liverpool. I have worked with individuals within Culture Liverpool for a decade now and I know we do things well here in Merseyside which leads to trust and the delivery of a common goal.

“This academic research will help us all to understand what it is that makes partnership working so successful in this city, what we do differently, what we do right, what we can do better and what we can learn for the future to improve upon this impressive portfolio of events.

“It’s vitally important that all partners engage with academia to tease out all the elements of events success. I am really keen that we capture the partnership working elements we have worked so hard to develop so future event managers and police commanders can build on previous events in general, and Eurovision 2023 in particular.”

  • Dr Becky Phythian
  • Dr Mike Smith


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