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The Manchester Arena Inquiry has now concluded. The closure notice from the Inquiry Chairman is available here.

Volume 1: Security for the Arena
Volume 1: Security for the Arena (large format)

Involvement of BTP and Showsec in the CTSA process

There should have been co-operation between a BTP CTSA considering the security in the station, with the GMP CTSA considering security at the Arena.281 The contrary was not suggested by anyone who gave evidence. There seems to be no reason why that did not happen, although the evidence I heard did not reveal who, if anyone, was at fault in this regard. As the two locations are part of the same complex, it would clearly make sense to consider the overall security at the Victoria Exchange Complex rather than making individual assessments of the station and the Arena.

Showsec’s employees were not invited to meetings with the CTSA. Elizabeth Forster saw no reason why, in principle, a third-party contractor involved in the security arrangements, such as Showsec, could not be involved in the meetings.282 The evidence suggests that it was not the culture at the time for CTSAs actively to encourage sites to invite others to attend their meetings.283 In appropriate circumstances, I can see no reason why a contractor in Showsec’s position would not be invited to participate either by the CTSA or the venue operator.

There are obvious advantages in involving Showsec in this process. Important information about, for example, searching, would have been relayed first-hand. Involvement of Showsec would have brought more benefits than just ensuring accurate information. It would have embedded Showsec into a process focused on counter-terrorism. It would have caused Showsec to think more about counter-terrorism. It would have led to more discussion about counter-terrorism between SMG and Showsec. It is important that the CTSA process involves representatives of every organisation which holds a security responsibility for that site. The greater the communication, the better the coordination will be.