A Winter Wonderland for criminals: How festive family event in Hyde Park has been plagued with 492 thefts, 139 assaults, 15 sex attacks and 30 gun possession offences over five years
- EXCLUSIVE: Most common type of crime at event is theft, police data reveals
- In the last year alone, the Met Police recorded 135 offences at the festive venue
- Data includes offences recorded as being outside, near or opposite the venue
Assaults, sex attacks, robbery, drugs and firearms possession are among the 790 offences recorded by police at Winter Wonderland over the last five years it has run.
In the last year alone, the Metropolitan Police recorded 135 offences at the festive family-friendly attraction in Hyde Park, data obtained through freedom of information requests has revealed.
This was up six from the previous year, which saw 129 offences reported, although from 2018 to 2021 the number had been falling.
More than 15 million people have attended Winter Wonderland over the last five events.
The most common type of crime plaguing the venue is theft, with 492 offences recorded since November 2017.
Winter Wonderland is a sprawling annual Christmas attraction in Hyde Park which attracts around two million visitors every year
Although the situation has improved over the last few years, with the number of thefts falling from 123 in 2018 to 79 in 2021, they spiked again over the season just gone, with 110 theft offences recorded by the Met Police.
Last year, a woman reported having her £685 Balenciaga trainers stolen while ice skating at the attraction.
Since 2017, there have been 139 violent offences at or in the vicinity of Winter Wonderland, 72 of those resulting in injury, police data showed.
The number of offences recorded by the Metropolitan Police since 2017
A number of violent fights have made headlines in recent years, including footage of a brawl breaking out in December 2019, as revellers queued to get into the main beer hall at the Bavarian Village.
In the last five years that Winter Wonderland has run – excluding 2020 when it was cancelled due to the pandemic – 15 sexual offences, 28 robberies and 46 drugs offences have been recorded.
There were also 49 offences recorded by police for possession of weapons, the majority of which (30) were for firearms offences.
Six of those weapons offences were for possession of an article with a blade or point, Met Police figures showed.
Ten public order offences including racially and religiously aggravated public fear, alarm and distress were also recorded.
The Met Police data includes offences recorded as being outside, near or opposite the venue.
While police do not patrol the event itself, they do patrol in the park outside and attend if called to an incident.
Winter Wonderland have their own security provider, which they changed in 2019.
The festive family day out, in the heart of central London, began as a small funfair that was free to attend when it first began in 2005.
A vicious brawl broke out at London’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park as shocked families watched on in December 2019
Revealed: The number of offences recorded at Winter Wonderland since 2017
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park attracts thousands of visitors every day during the festive season, but police data shows there have been 790 criminal recorded since 2017
Two years later, PWR Events launched Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
The firm is behind a number of well-known events and attractions in the capital including most recently the glass lift at the reinvigorated Battersea Power Station.
Its parent company, International Management Group (IMG), is a US-headquartered global sports and entertainment company which produces more than 400 events worldwide.
Since its inception it has grown into a huge event with more than 100 rides, food stalls, festive bars, and shows, with revellers now paying £7.50 for entry at peak times.
Hundreds of celebrities have been spotted visiting the iconic Christmas celebration over the years including the Beckhams, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, as well as reality TV stars from Love Island and The Only Way is Essex.
It is also a firm favourite with influencers who are invited to come down and pose with cocktails in hand against the backdrop of a roaring fire as brands sign lucrative deals with venue sponsors.
A Hyde Park Winter Wonderland spokesperson previously told MailOnline: ‘Our priority is the safety of our visitors.
‘More than two million guests come through our gates every year and leave with a positive experience of our rides and attractions.
‘There is no place for violence or anti-social behaviour at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. We have strict measures in place including bag checks, dedicated trained employees to flag suspicious activity and staff immediately available to assist any of our visitors who may need support.
‘The popularity of our event has grown each year since we launched in London in 2007, and in response we have adapted and strengthened crowd control procedures, including reducing our capacity by 30 per cent and introducing ticketing from 2021 onwards, to ensure an enjoyable experience for our visitors.
‘We continue to work closely with the relevant authorities, including the Metropolitan Police and Westminster City Council, to ensure public safety and keep our plans and procedures under constant review.’
Winter Wonderland’s parent group IMG has been contacted for further comment.
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