The past few weeks have proven to be a turbulent time with an upsurge in acts of terror in France, Tunisia, Kuwait, and Egypt amongst many others. Prior to this we all remember the grotesque Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and Mumbai attacks also the Sydney siege. Combined with 7/7 and the Boston bombings, its quite clear that all of these acts of terror have the ability to not only strike with near impunity at the heart of our communities and effectively cripple them whilst have lasting effects on there populous.
In Manchester and across the UK we are no strangers to acts of terror and as a city and nation we have remained resolute. We recently saw the Metropolitan Police conducting there own training exercise based upon several attacks across the capital. This was in conjunction with 14 different agencies including the Security services. This arguably did several things, it demonstrated that we have a resolute and determined response to these acts, and also acts as a deterrent to would be attackers. Both of which we can all agree are commendable.
As us Mancunians know only to well, that the United Kingdom isn't just about London. We can boast and quite rightly so, that we are the second city. We have the largest office populous outside of the capital. Paris, Tokyo and Berlin will have less job growth over the next 5 years and a growing number of international businesses making Manchester there home, all making us a very viable target, for acts of terror.
My thoughts when I saw Police exercise Operation Strong Tower on the news, was how would Manchester cope if that was to happen here, today, now!? If it is to happen we won't get advanced notice. The Cumbrian shootings by Derrick Bird, the rampage of Raol Moat, Dunblane and Hungerford are all relevant examples of active shooter attacks outside of the capital with a largely delayed appropriate armed response. Just in the last week there was at least 3 separate shootings in North Manchester.
It is expected that an armed response could be mustered in the capital within 5/10 minutes. What is that in our city? What about in a neighbouring town? Do we have an appropriate force to respond should that day come when it is Manchester again the centre of another terrorist atrocity?
I am sure the GMP have a resolute plan for all major attacks and it would be remiss to think otherwise. The concerns raised amongst colleagues and by other experts including on Sky News, what would be the response outside the capital and how quickly could that appropriate response be mustered. Let us all hope that the day never comes to our city or nation again, and should it happen again we all have resolution to never be defeated.
Food for thought........
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* This blog is written to encourage dialogue and thought not to cast blame or needless assertions on any organisation or company.