Malicious threats are described as ‘potential causes of unwanted events that may result in harm to a community and its assets’. Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK face a serious and sustained terrorist threat from international groups, domestic extremists and Northern Ireland-related groups. At the time of writing the current threat level across the UK is severe, and this has been the case since the end of August 2014, with few exceptions, including the immediate aftermath of the Manchester Arena bomb attack, where it was raised to critical.
What is the threat in Greater Manchester?
Manchester has been the victim of two major terrorist attacks within a generation: the IRA bomb attack in 1996, and the attack on the Manchester Arena in May 2017, where 22 people were killed. With a major city at its heart, a large international airport, and several sporting, shopping and cultural centres throughout the county, Greater Manchester is likely to continue to face a serious threat from terrorism for the foreseeable future.
What’s being done in Greater Manchester?
Prevent - The Home office prevent programme to safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, is delivered by the police and a variety of partners across Greater Manchester.
Reducing vulnerability - Counter Terrorism Security Advisers (CTSAs) provide a range of training and guidance to help businesses and other organisations understand the terrorist threat, improve protective security and preparedness, spot signs of suspicious activity, and take other appropriate actions.
CTSAs work closely with all GM Local Authorities to identify key areas to introduce a variety of security solutions to protect the public. These include pedestrianising areas of town centres, redesigning of shared spaces and installing physical barriers to prevent vehicles being used as weapons, and to reduce the effects of blast from explosive devices.
Physical protective security, including barriers to prevent vehicles being used as a weapon, or to keep vehicle bombs further from buildings to mitigate the effects of a blast, have been installed in public areas and in key sites across Greater Manchester.
Limiting terrorist capability - Measures are in place to make it more difficult to source ingredients needed to manufacture home-made bombs. More stringent border security makes it more difficult to smuggle weapons or dangerous substances into the UK.
Improving response - Major incident plans are regularly tested in exercises, where emergency responders practise and refine response capabilities. Specialist training for emergency services enables personnel to operate in high-risk environments, and the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles have improved the way the Greater Manchester emergency responders work together. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has increased its armed policing capability. National Health Service England (NHSE) and Public Health England (PHE) have plans in place to respond to major incidents; they also maintain stocks of medical treatments (in case of CBRN) with arrangements in place for how these would be distributed in an emergency.
Local authorities have developed strategies to support people affected by terrorist incidents, and have established strong partnership working to ensure that Greater Manchester can work together to recover from these difficult events. Following the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017, the Mayor of Greater Manchester commissioned an Independent Review to identify the learning from the response. In addition, the Mayor also set up the Preventing Hateful Extremism and Promoting Social Cohesion Commission. Work is ongoing to address any issues or recommendations highlighted.
What you should do
Run... Hide... Tell...
To help prevent attacks from occurring, the public can play an important role by reporting suspicious behaviour or unattended items to a member of staff or the police. You can call the police non-emergency number on 101.
To watch the film, visit the ACT website here.