U.S. Markets closed

Government ‘must review security at UK entertainment venues’ after Manchester arena attack

Lizzie Dearden
1 / 2
Government ‘must review security at UK entertainment venues’ after Manchester arena attack

A review of security at entertainment venues to protect the public in the wake of the Manchester attack must be launched by the government, the city’s leaders have said.

The mother of one of the bombing’s 22 victims has been leading a campaign to legally require metal detectors and bag searches at large venues.

Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester mayor, gave his support to “Martyn’s Law” after an independent review of the response to the May 2017 atrocity.

“At present, security arrangements are essentially voluntary and this can lead to confusion and variation,” the former shadow home secretary said.

“I believe there is a clear case for a thorough review of security measures at major sporting and entertainment event venues to establish clearly understood mandatory standards and I call on the government to initiate one.

“We need to have clear minimum and mandatory standards at all venues so there is clarity for operators, and confidence for the public. Figen Murray has rightly highlighted this issue and her call for a change to the law needs to be taken seriously by the government.”

Ms Murray is the mother of Martyn Hett , one of the 22 victims murdered by a suicide bomber as they left an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

Isis supporter Salman Abedi was able to enter Manchester Arena’s foyer carrying a bomb packed with metal shrapnel undetected, without going through security checks.

Ms Murray started a petition calling for mandatory measures at venues, which has so far received more than 13,600 signatures.

“We shouldn’t have to wait for another terrible event to happen to start taking this issue seriously,” she said.

“It’s too late for me – I’ve lost my child – but I’m committed to doing all I can to stop other families having to go through the nightmare that we are.”

But in February, the government issued a response refusing the demand.

“The government provides expert advice to venues on appropriate and proportionate security measures,” the statement said. “Whilst we keep this matter under review there are no plans to mandate specific security measures.”

A year ago, a report revealed that first aid-trained firefighters did not respond to the explosion for two hours because they wrongly believed a gunman was on the loose.

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, praised “individual acts of bravery and selflessness” by emergency services and the public but said communication failures delayed vital parts of the response and made a series of recommendations.

A progress report published on Thursday said improvements had been made to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Greater Manchester Police has enhanced its senior officer capacity and resilience during major incidents, the document said, and North West Ambulance Service has more stretchers to evacuate casualties and created dedicated incident notification channels.

Mental health trusts in the region are developing a joint plan “to improve provision of mental health services to support adults and children who experience trauma” as a result of the bombing.

Vodafone has also made a guarantee to the government that the failure of the National Mutual Aid Telephony system, which hampered the emergency response on the night of the attack, would not be repeated.

The Kerslake report also highlighted media intrusion into the lives of victims and their families, and Mr Burnham said he was “unconvinced” by training and guidance announced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.