Yesterday two men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after another man was slashed in the stomach at Thorpe Park.
Described at first by the park as involving “one guest injuring another”, Surrey Police later clarified that two groups of young adults were involved.
According to the police, the two arrested were aged in their 20s. The injured man’s injuries have been described as serious but not life-threatening.
Today, Thorpe Park opened as normal, saying that it had full confidence in its security measures to keep guests safe.
But large queues formed as the park ramped up its security procedures, searching every guest entering the attraction.
So perhaps the statement would better read that the park had confidence in its security procedures now in place.
Yesterday, the Thorpe Park pointed out that it has never experienced anything like the assault in its 40-plus years of operation.
That is correct, but the issue that has to be faced is the park’s proximity to London – where knife crime has been a growing scourge for many years now.
It seems extremely unlikely that it would take another 40 years for a similar incident to happen at Thorpe Park if the situation with London’s knives doesn’t improve.
And coincidentally yesterday, a government report revealed that knife crime in the capital was growing five times faster than the rest of England.
It remains to be seen if the local and national government are willing and able to turn the tide on the number of knife attacks in London.
Thorpe Park was effectively caught out yesterday by failing to effectively assess risk against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society inside the M25 motorway.
Thorpe Park’s operator Merlin Entertainments will need to find an effective solution to keeping knives out of the park if it is to protect its business in the long-term.
Today’s change in security operations will certainly screen out virtually anything untoward being brought into the park, but the extensive queues are also off-putting to visitors.
Let us also not forget that these queues have formed at a time of reduced capacity at the park. Their length would be bigger still if and when full capacity is restored.
The park did extend ride openings by one hour to compensate. It remains to be seen what the strategy will be going forward.
Yesterday’s incident could have been avoided, but the prospect of guests carrying blades is not easily tackled.
While it is also an issue for other theme parks across the country, Thorpe Park’s guests do tend to be teenagers and young adults, rather than families.
Combined with its proximity to London, this means that Thorpe Park will have to work harder than any of its competitors to ensure a blade-free environment.