The full horror of what happened in Manchester last night is just sinking in. At the time of writing there are 22 dead and over 60 injured, after a suicide bomber walked into Manchester Arena following a concert by Ariana Grande and initiated the worst terror attack in the UK since the 7th July 2005 London bombings. Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins, said it was ‘the most horrific incident’ the city had ever faced.
Watching footage filmed inside the building after the bomb was detonated and seeing images of injured children and young people outside the venue fills me full of sadness, anger and a sense of determination that those perpetrating these cowardly acts must be defeated.
Last night also highlighted the important job our security services do in preventing more of these types of incidents. While every terrorist attack that is successful is one too many, lots more are prevented and we must all be vigilant in order to help prevent future atrocities.
I would also like to recognise the role my industry colleagues played in the immediate aftermath in terms of helping the injured and working with the emergency services. I’m sure that, faced with a similar situation, manned guards from up and down the country would have acted in the same manner. Security personnel deal with serious situations each and every day and their actions usually go unrecognised, which is why greater respect needs to be afforded to those who perform security related tasks.
Like others around the UK, the vigilance and awareness of all Corps Security’s site based and other uniformed colleagues is being raised in the face of yet another example of brutal terrorism. Corps Security’s personnel were on standby overnight and will be busy providing ongoing reassurance to customers, and in particular to those which operate places of entertainment and where there is high footfall and a regular presence of members of the public. Meanwhile, colleagues in our events teams will be ensuring that all appropriate emergency and contingency plans for events are checked and understood.
It goes without saying that security professionals must be on high alert to the potential impact of threats on the people, property and assets they protect, and review contingency plans where necessary. However, in order to stand the best chance of spotting terrorists, the public must also do its bit by reporting any suspicious behaviour and the National Police Chiefs’ Council needs to do more to promote the advice offered in its ‘run, hide, tell’ policy.
The events of last night have sent shockwaves around the world and are a clear indicator of the type of havoc that those with malicious intent can wreak upon our lives, as they try to undermine our values and what we stand for. Sadly, I don’t believe that we have seen the last of this type of despicable activity but vigilance is our key strength and we must use it in full support of our security services.