Guide to Understanding the Protect Duty and Martyn's Law

Best Practice Guide

The Manchester Arena bombing and the deadly year

As 2017 began, the U.K. had gone over a decade untouched by large-scale bombing attacks in its venues and crowded public spaces – the last incident being the 7 July central London bombings in 2005. All that would change on 22 May.

Around 22:30 BST time, a home-made bomb detonated in the foyer of Manchester Arena, just as Ariana Grande’s concert was letting out; more than 14,000 people were in attendance. Such was the force of the blast that it was enough to kill anyone up to 22 metres away; it was a bomb intended to inflict mass damage.

Confirmed as a terrorist attack and suicide bombing, the incident precipitated 240 emergency calls, with sixty ambulances and 400 police officers attending. All told, 23 people lost their lives, including the perpetrator, 22-year-old Salman Abed. An additional 116 people were admitted to the hospital.

The terror organisation, ISIS claimed credit for the attack. The organised terror association compelled authorities to raise the country’s terrorism threat level to “critical,” the first such move in a decade.

The city’s railway station was also badly damaged by the blast; it was evacuated and closed the night of the incident, only to open eight days later. Manchester Arena, however, would stay closed until September of that year.

By the time the venue reopened, the U.K. had already experienced another deadly incident in a crowded public space. On 19 June, Darren Osborne drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, killing one man. Months later another public space became the site of a bombing attack – this time the Parsons Green Tube, where a bomb only partially exploded on a London Underground train, injuring 50 people.

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