On 22 May, an explosion ripped through a concert hall in Manchester, killing 23 people and leaving dozens more wounded. That incident would later become the second worst terrorist attack in the United Kingdom since the 7 July 2005 London bombings, as well as the first time since 2007 that the country’s terror threat level was raised to “critical”.
Following the incident, United Kingdom was in mourning as well as in shock as to the scale of the attack that occurred right after a performance by popstar, Ariana Grande. All government agencies and especially the police were mobilized to deal with the incident as well as to maintain calm on the streets of United Kingdom.
In the initial moments of the attack, the team of analysts at Global Warning System were careful in publishing alerts about the incident with only verified facts by the Greater Manchester Police (GMP). For instance, it was initially reported that the explosion was caused by a speaker in the concert hall. As there was no confirmation of this, SAFEY continued to refrain from speculating on the cause of the explosion in order not to cause further distress among its users. A similar report about a lockdown triggered by a gunman at the Oldham Hospital was also later found out to be untrue. In both instances, SAFEY maintained a strict guideline in reporting by cross-referencing all information with reliable sources.
Since the start of the attack at 22:30 (local time) till daybreak, SAFEY sent out at least seven alerts for its users regarding the scale of the attack as well as progress of the ongoing police investigation. It was later confirmed that the attack was indeed terror-related and perpetrated by a suicide bomber, and this information was included in alerts for users who were following the developments. Besides that, pertinent information about travelling around in Manchester was also being published for users to plan their journey in the city center, which was put on lockdown due to emergency and investigation efforts by the authorities.
Apart from the attack in Manchester, the following day also saw a security alert in London where SAFEY’s users were promptly informed so that alternative travel arrangements can be made. On the very same day, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May also declared the country’s threat level for international terrorism will be raised from “severe” to “critical”, indicating an attack is expected imminently. Despite this, the threat was reversed to “severe” a few days later, pointing out an attack is still highly likely. Regardless of the threat level, it is important to note that SAFEY places high priority on such incidents and will continue to update its users whenever they happen.
What do threat levels by the UK government mean?
- LOW: Attack is unlikely
- MODERATE: An attack is possible, but not likely
- SUBSTANTIAL: An attack is a strong possibility
- SEVERE: An attack is highly likely
- CRITICAL: An attack is expected imminently
(Source: MI5 Security Service)