With an audience capacity of 21,000 people, the Manchester Arena bombing outcome could well have been far more devastating. Mass panic seized the audience after the sound of the explosion resonated through the venue. Most audience members were young pre-teen girls, teenage girls, young women and their mothers. It was an appalling target with ISIS now claiming responsibility for the incident and the resultant 22 deaths and 59 seriously injured concert patrons.
The question on everyone’s lips is “What can we do to prevent such mindless acts?”. In truth there is a lot we can do. First base is most certainly intel via the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and other Federal Government Agencies and through the various State Police Forces.
But this presupposes organisation, planning and identifiable links with known terrorist organisations such as ISIS, Al Queda, Chechen separatists, etc.
The reality is that to a great extent the ISIS type movement is attractive to ‘lone wolves’; People like Man Haron Monis of the Lindt Cafe Siege in Sydney, the Tunisian truck hijacker in Marseilles, the gay nightclub shooter in Florida and many more.
These are unbalanced psychopathic types who use internet propaganda to justify totally sociopathic acts. They gain bomb recipes and perform copy-cat acts such as the German Truck Killer.
This type of perpetrator is far more difficult to detect and protect against.
The AML Risk Management team believe that actual protection at Major Event Venues, Transport Hubs, Shopping Centres, Schools and Universities is possible with the use of both intel then technology. Intel provides significant risk assessment information. Upon recognising and determining that indeed there is risk just what can be done?
Events at major sporting events, music concerts, music festivals all have controlled entrances. Transport Hubs such as Railway Stations, Bus Stations and Airports also have controlled entrances – to a greater or lesser degree.
Trained staff can monitor such entrances and when necessary, with the use of explosives detection units and soon to be released ‘walk thru’ scanning devices, it is possible to ensure a relatively secure environment is maintained for the public attending. The designated search teams (known as APUs) can detect the full range of commonly used explosives with simple bag scans. Such a scanning operation can be added comfortably to existing bag-search or wanding operations (eg. the MCG) or simply be deployed strategically to operate upon observation of suspicious behaviour or unusual behaviour (eg. Large Bags to Sporting Events).
The APU team not only have significant Emergency Protocols that will diffuse and contain such a situation, it also has the equipment and deployment capability to absorb up to 90% of any blast or explosion (The APU team are trained professionals from Defence Force, Police and Fire Brigade backgrounds).
The victims in Manchester were ordinary people out to enjoy a night of fun – family members, children, mothers. It is imperative that we devise strategies that ensure this never happens again if it can possibly be prevented. The tragedy in itself gives Venues both the right and perhaps the obligation to impose some rigorous checking on anyone entering the venue. It’s time for action. Such tragedies can be minimised with forward thinking and planning. The detection of explosives is technically well advanced.
For further information please call AML Risk Management on 03 9326 2244.