This briefing is in relation to the tragic events in Manchester on Monday 22nd May 2017. Firstly I must express our sympathies to those who have lost loved ones and for those injured as a result of the atrocity. This incident can be described as a game changer, a private venue run by private security with probably no police presence, a soft target involving young children.
You will probably have seen the extensive reporting about the incident, but a brief outline of events has been included; at approximately 22:33 hours last night, Greater Manchester Police received the first reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena, coinciding with the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
This incident was declared a Terrorist incident and armed officers deployed to the scene accordingly.
The blast was caused by a single suicide bomber. 22 members of the public are confirmed dead. The suspect is also confirmed as dead. The majority of the victims are females, including an eight year old child. 59 casualties with varying degrees of injury, some serious, have been identified thus far and many are still being treated across eight hospitals in the Greater Manchester area.
The investigation is live involving Counter Terrorist units across the country. To date there have been two arrests, one male was released shortly after arrest and another remains in custody.
At this early stage in the investigation it is unclear whether the perpetrator of this attack acted alone or if he is part of a wider group. As the investigation continues and we gain a better understanding of this we will be able to make a better assessment of any further threat or risk that may be posed. We will, of course, keep you updated as the investigation continues and any useful information comes to light which will help you to maintain and improve your protective security stance.
You will have seen reports of claims of responsibility from Daesh for this attack. Whilst we cannot confirm this at this time, it does come in the wake of continuing rhetoric from Daesh imploring their supporters to carry out attacks against targets which reflect our Western lifestyle. The use of improvised explosive devices has also been a favored attack method of Daesh across Europe and, indeed, globally.
There has been an uplift in Policing including the deployment of additional armed officers and additional patrols at crowded places and transport hubs. All forces have been directed to review any significant events in the next 14 days and to increase the security footprint around those events where it is deemed appropriate.
A separate briefing will be provided to event organisers this afternoon to outline for them some improvements that they can consider to improve their protective security. In the wider sectors covered by CSSC Industry sectors previous messages will be reinforced and guidance to point you in the direction of continuing good practice and advice.
Stakeholders are reminded that the threat level from international terrorists to the UK is at SEVERE, meaning an attack is highly likely. The Threat level to the UK from dissident Irish Republican terrorists is at SUBSTANTIAL.
Crowded places remain the common denominator for terrorists and online rhetoric calling for targeted attacks. With the summer period upon us there is a need for vigilance and engagement between police and partners. Partners are asked to be mindful of previous advice and of the information that can be found on the NaCTSO website.
NaCTSO has provided detailed protective security advice for businesses, communities and the public, this is available from the NaCTSO website. The advice relates to:
- Introduction to counter terrorism (A 20 minute self-delivery presentation containing three core counter terrorism messages for self-delivery. The content relates to hostile reconnaissance, suspicious behaviour and weapons and firearms attack)
- Search planning
- Evacuation, invacuation and lockdown
- Preparedness, first aid kits and crisis incident kits
- Security culture
- Reporting suspicious transactions around precursor materials that can be used in bomb making
- Guidance for the public, businesses and laboratories on using, storing and selling explosives precursors and poisons
- Good practice for security guards and those involved in delivery of security
- The effects of blast and cordon distance
The attack in Manchester occurred at the end of the event when event organisers and staff traditionally focus on dispersal and clear up. Security, which may have been primarily deployed to manage the entry and delivery phases of the event, is deployed elsewhere or absent. Additionally event attendees will be focussing on their exit and homeward journey etc. These factors combine to make this phase potentially vulnerable to a range of attack methodologies. It reminds us of the need to consider the whole event lifecycle within an event security plan, particularly the risks to crowded places created within or adjacent to a venue in the post event phase. This is equally important to the night time economy venues or an office block where significant numbers leave together during rush hour.
It is appreciated that you have responsibility for the security of buildings and therefore a large number of people. It is important at times such as these that the police security stance and that of the private sector is joined up. To ensure that we are joined up, we are recommending that you consider some protective security tactics to aid your security at this time, whilst remembering that the threat level remains at ‘SEVERE’.
Therefore it is recommended that all businesses/partners consider the National Stakeholder Menu of Tactical Options (see link) noting that we are not at this time recommending any specific changes to how you operate currently, but recommend that you consider the following from the menu
A. Lock down procedure
B. Increase security presence
C. Staff Vigilance
D. Partnership working
All of these are easily achievable but by far the greatest asset and tactic you have is engaging staff who deliver a high level of quality of service by speaking to visitors to your buildings and challenging those displaying unusual behaviour.
You should also review your building and business continuity plans in the light of this attack. You should ensure that first aid points are fully stocked and the location of key equipment is made clear to all staff. We also recommend that staff are directed to the Citizen Aid app and Run, Hide, Tell on YouTube. The number of casualties last night highlights the importance of understanding first aid.
Many of you will have innovative ways of managing your protective security and I ask that where you think you have a tactic or operating model that could be utilised by another similar organisation to good effect, that you share it with NaCTSO for sharing with others.
Finally, all terrorists use hostile reconnaissance in attack planning and I remind you of the need to train your staff and remind them of the vital role they play in recognising hostile reconnaissance and remind you that if in doubt call the Anti terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321or in an emergency 999.