From the North: The Manchester Arena terror attack - a safer summer?

Four years has passed since the Manchester Arena terror attack and after a damning report revealed lives might have been saved if security had done a better job I want to know if it has actually improved and whether young people feel any safer when they go out.

In this episode of our podcast From the North, I’m joined by two people who were badly injured in the bombing which killed 22 people.

Adam Lawler was with his best friend Olivia Campbell-Hardy who tragically lost her life, and Lucy Jarvis feared she might bleed to death when she was struck by shrapnel.

They, like all of us, have spent 18 months stuck at home unable to go to gigs and concerts but now that lockdown is easing how do they feel about going back?

What are their fears, worries, concerns and are they right to have them?

Former Counter Terrorism UK National co-ordinator, Nick Aldworth, also joins me and gives his own take on what needs to be done to make us all feel safe this summer.

  • Amy's interview and other episodes of the From the North podcast, are available below.

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What can you do to stay safe?

#BeSafeBeSound is the Counter Terrorism police campaign which is delivering vital safety advice to people wanting to enjoy live music this summer.

It’s asking people to be security minded to help protect music fans not just against Covid but terrorism too. The campaign has previously gained support from Leeds & Reading Festival, Download Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, Parklife, Creamfields, Mayor of London, and many more.

These are the messages they’re asking the music industry to promote.

  • Empower music fans with safety advice via online and offline methods, such as: social media, websites, digital screens, mobile apps, and posters.

  • Reassure music fans that they are safe and security checks are in place to ensure that they have a safe experience.

  • Educate and encourage fans to report behaviour that is out of place and not quite right, by reporting immediately to security staff.

  • Promote and support by using #BeSafeBeSound creative materials and become exemplars in security minded communications.

What is Martyn’s Law and why isn’t it an actual law yet?

Figen Murray's son Martyn was one of the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena attack.

Since then she has channelled her grief into campaigning for a law in her son's name.

Currently venue owners have no obligation to act on free advice from specialist counter-terrorism officers or on how to reduce the risk of a terror attack. Martyn's Law would change that - and also introduce stricter security measures.

The government consultation into plans to to make it a legal requirement for public places to improve security measures has now closed and the hope is that it will be passed and made law by some time next year.

By then five years will have passed since the Arena attack. Figen told the public inquiry into the bombing in November 2020 that "the stakes are too high" for further delay so why has the process of passing this law been so slow?

This is what the Home Office told us: “We are extremely grateful to Figen Murray and her tireless campaigning for ‘Martyn’s Law’, following the devastating loss of her son in the Manchester Arena attack, ensuring that venues and public spaces consider the safety and security of the public from terrorism.

“The Government has already taken significant steps to strengthen the UK’s preparedness for and protection from terrorism, and we will always take the strongest possible action to protect national security.

“Earlier this year we launched a consultation on a new Protect duty which will introduce a legal requirement for public places to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks. This closed earlier this month, and we are carefully considering the results, alongside insights gained from extensive engagement, from a wide range of sectors and organisations across the UK and will respond in due course.

"We are committed to delivering the new Protect Duty as soon as possible.”

Watch Amy's interview, and other From the North interviews on our YouTube channel: