The terrorist landscape has become increasingly complex and the threat of attack remains severe while the terrorists’ methods are evolving. This is the opinion of one security expert following last night’s attack at Manchester Arena that left 22 people dead.
Following on from a recent security presentation at IMEX Frankfurt M&IT reached out to Peter Murphy operations director of Priavo a London-based security and risk management firm to seek an expert's view on the tragedy unfolding in Manchester.
“This once again highlights the vulnerability of public and large venues. After a period of hostile vehicle and knife attacks the impact of a suicide bomber is significant. Without a full statement on the attack it is difficult to comment. It would be interesting to see how the attacker entered the building. Was this due to ‘perceived’ relaxed attitude at the end of the show?” says Mr Murphy.
Adding, “An attack of this magnitude has not taken place in UK since 2005, when four separate Islamist extremist suicide bombers targeted civilians using London’s public transport system during the morning rush hour. This method of attack is extremely complex to orchestrate, demonstrating a capability beyond that of recent attacks.”
While clear details of the bombing are yet to emerge the after-shock that will likely be felt by large-capacity venues that many will now see as a soft target. Mr Murphy, a former British special forces operator, remains resolute that people should remain calm, saying:
“Despite this attack, there is no indication that the UK’s threat level will increase from the current level of severe, up to critical, which means an attack is expected imminently. In light of this security provisions will remain high, particularly in crowded and public places.”
“With a season of festivals and large-scale events gaining momentum this was a well-coordinated attack with huge implications. Given the unpredictability of terrorism we must consider all options. Venues and organisers must scrutinise their security measures and procedures. A detailed risk assessment and security audit will help to identify gaps in procedures and allow for more effective measure to be put in place. Assessments must tirelessly be tested and reviewed.”
NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi issued a statement earlier today offering condolences while highlighting concerns over security at large venues. “Our thoughts are with those who were affected by the terrible incident at the Manchester Arena last night. We’re shocked and saddened by what has happened. Public safety at our events is our priority and we have a number of security measures in place which we continue to review.”
Adding, “Our teams - who liaise with the police, exhibition and conference organisers and concert promoters on an on-going basis - are vigilant at all times and review security measures as necessary. We encourage those attending our events to also remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to our security staff or police.”
For people who are concerned about attending future events - you can find good advice on how to react in a crisis on Citizen Aid. Ensure everyone knows how to remain vigilant and have a basic knowledge on where or what you are going to do if an incident occurs.