Eric Stuart is the director of Gentian Events, a Crowd Safety Management Company established in 2009 and has been involved in crowd safety for more than15 years. He was the planning lead for Notting Hill Carnival and London New Year’s Eve from 2005 to 2010, with viewing audiences of up to 1 million and 450,000 respectively. His final crowd management role in the Metropolitan Police was as Chief of Staff for the planning and delivery of the 70-day London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, viewed by an estimated 14 million people across five countries, and his team would go on to win the prestigious ‘Police Team of the Year’ against stiff competition in 2012. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service on completion of his 33 years of service.
Eric has a BA (Hons) degree in Crowd Safety Management, and as well as writing and delivering crowd safety plans, he is a course lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University. He wrote both the Crowd Movement, Modelling and Management course (CM3) for the UK Government Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College and teaches courses both privately and through the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). His clientele includes the emergency services, local authorities and private companies who work in crowded places which require careful crowd management in both normal and emergencies. He has supported the American and Canadian Event Safety Alliances for several years, currently re-writing the Crowded Places Guidance and has supported their efforts to codify the guidance to enshrine it in law. He also delivers crowd safety training in both the USA and Canada. In 2017 he presented for the third time at the US National ESA Summit and was a panel member at the UK Event Safety and Security Summit. He co-wrote the recently introduced US ‘ANSI’ standard on crowd safety management, the first of its kind in the world.
In 2018 Eric became the chair of the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) and has been working directly with government departments as well as police and CT advisors considering new legislation and guidance. He is the co-author of the UK Good Practice Guide to Working in Safety Advisory Groups, a document now deemed best practice for those in the role. In December 2017 he delivered three sold-out Crowd Safety events to over 120 candidates in Ontario, Canada. He is currently engaged in the delivery of two complex crowd management events in the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Toronto working with RCMP and private companies to deliver these safely. In April 2018 he presented training in five US states and Vancouver before working on events in Surrey, British Columbia, which was attended by 500,000 people.
Eric has spent most of the spring and summer of 2020 running safety during the building and operation of a temporary mortuary facility within a military base as a response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Since June he has been working with local authorities and event organisers to slowly reintroduce crowds back into events against a background of ever-changing guidelines and regulations and a variable level of tolerance by authorities and agencies across the UK.
He explains his obsession with crowd safety is motivated by a desire to never see people injured or killed unnecessarily through easily avoidable situations, based on learnings from previous events.