UK bombing: Concert goer says lack of security at venue ‘strange’
By: Ieva Lucs
Questions linger about the possible lack of security at the Manchester Arena where a suicide bomber killed 22 people on Monday night.
Some concert attendees took to social media with complaints that no one was checking bags at the venue.
Kim Grayson, who was at the concert with her brother and two daughters, said she found it strange that her family was allowed to walk into the arena without a security check.
“I go to a lot of gigs,” Grayson said. “Before we went in I said to my brother, ‘make sure there’s nothing that shouldn’t be in your bag,’ but we just walked in and that seemed very strange.”
Christy Coroa is the president of LTS Protective Services, a company that provides security for events here in Canada. Coroa said at major Toronto events bags are always checked for weapons by passing metal wands over and through the contents. As an attendee herself, Coroa noticed last year that the Air Canada Centre has upgraded the wands to full walk through metal detectors.
“Toronto is becoming more proactive than reactive,” said Coroa.
The threat level in the U.K. is now at critical, the highest level available. Prime Minister Theresa May said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, an organization that determines threat levels, updated the status to indicate that another attack is “expected imminently.”
The change means that military forces will be monitoring all public events in the foreseeable future.
Showsec is the security company that has been working for the Manchester Arena since its opening in 1995. The company’s website said it has “introduced fresh techniques and solutions to constantly evolve the venue security.” However Showsec has not spoken publicly about the bombing.
In Toronto, Mayor John Tory has said the city’s threat level has not changed since the bombing. However, the ACC has announced it will be upping security for two upcoming Weeknd concerts.
Public venues like the ACC can do this “for all kinds of reasons,” says Lorne Dawson, the director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society.
Protecting people, liability, and insurance are some reasons why the ACC is required to go “above and beyond,” Dawson said. “But there is no specific reason to believe that the ACC is under threat.”
With files from Reid Goodison.