Manchester Arena: Licence changes ‘not robust enough’ on counter-terrorism
BBC- The first proposed changes to Manchester Arena’s licence since the attack on the venue in 2017 have been opposed over concerns they are “not robust enough” on counter-terrorism.Operator SMG has applied to revamp its operations schedule at the venue, where 22 people were killed in a bomb attack.The local council said it needed to show the Manchester Arena Inquiry’s findings were “demonstrably addressed”.SMG said it would work with the authorities on renewing the licence.
The proposal includes a new operational management plan, which would include compliance with the proposed Protect Duty, planned legislation that would require public places and venues to improve security that has been campaigned for by Figen Murray, the mother of bomb victim Martyn Hett.The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council’s licensing officers had opposed the application in its current form, on account of it not being “robust enough” on counter-terrorism, staff training, CCTV, first aid provisions and noise management.
‘More information needed’
In a written objection, PC Alan Isherwood said he would expect to see “a framework for how all events are managed and then examples of event-specific plans… to see if it stood up to scrutiny and was fit for purpose”.He also said he wanted written risk assessments for all events, not just those not affiliated with the venue, to stop numerous events not being assessed and CCTV to be in operation at all times, rather than “whilst the premises are open” as has been proposed.
He said “until our concerns are satisfied”, the force would not support “the variation being granted”.The council’s principal licensing officer Fraser Swift said it was “unclear… how far the training in place at the arena would extend”.”The chair to the [Manchester] Arena Inquiry has made a number of recommendations in volume one of his report, and we consider it appropriate these are demonstrably addressed in the proposed operating schedule,” he said.
“We welcome the [plan] but more information is needed on the purpose, scope, role and process of how they would operate in practice.”An SMG spokesperson said it had provided further information to the authorities and would “continue to work with all parties to confirm the terms of the renewed licence”.The application is due to be considered by the licensing subcommittee on 11 October.