Manchester Arena Inquiry - Report Volume 1 - Security Arrangements / Protect Duty consultation

Do YOU know what the Terrorism Threat Level for the UK is at the moment? It is published HERE and, at the time of writing, is SUBSTANTIAL. On 22 May 2017 - the day of the Manchester Arena attack - it was SEVERE.

In a previous post - HERE - I referred to the events of that day as an atrocity. I believe that is a fitting word.  22 innocent people were murdered and hundreds more suffered life-changing physical injuries or psychological harm. Salman Abedi intended to kill or injure as many people as he could. It was a wicked act, inspired by the distorted ideology of the so-called Islamic State.

On 17 June 2021, Sir John Saunders, the Chairman of the Manchester Arena Inquiry, published Volume 1 of his report into the deaths of the 22 victims of the bomb attack. 

The report - Volume 1: Security for the Arena - is the first of three volumes and examines the security arrangements that were in place at the Manchester Arena at the time. The report is available HERE.

In a Statement of 17 June 2021, the Chairman noted that, at the time, the threat level set by the Joint 12 Terrorism Analysis Centre was severe. A terrorist attack

was highly likely and the arena was always a possible target for a terrorist.  Previous attacks had taken place in Paris and Bavaria and those had shown that popular music events could be a target.

The threat level had been at severe for over two and a half years and the Chairman noted that it "is difficult to maintain a level of preparedness over a long period." It was "the responsibility of managers to ensure that the message that the threat was severe was refreshed in such a way that people did not become complacent about it."

"Employees must know how to identify suspicious behaviour, be encouraged to report it, and not feel that they may be criticised if it turns out to be a false alarm."

"There was insufficient sharing of information between those people concerned with security at the arena. Another recurring theme in this inquiry is the need to efficiently share information with partners and neighbours. The effect of this will be to greatly increase the efficacy of the response."

The Chairman's remarks then turned to the "Protect Duty." A government consultation is ongoing and people are encouraged to participate. The consultation ends on 2 July 2021.

The Chairman has recommended that the requirements of the duty should be stringent. He said, "There seems to me to be no reason why large commercial organisations should not take all reasonable precautions to protect their customers from a terrorist attack."

The Protect Duty Consultation is HERE.

The inquiry continues with hearings into the adequacy of the emergency response and, finally, with the radicalisation of Salman Abedi and what the intelligence services and counter-terrorism Police knew and in the light of that what, if anything, they could and should have done to prevent the attack.

18 June 2021