The security services believe they know the identity of the man behind the Manchester suicide bombing, Theresa May has said. Speaking outside Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency COBRA committee, the Prime Minister said the city had fallen victim to a “callous terrorist attack”. She said the blast at Manchester Arena, which left 22 people dead1, was “among the worst terrorism we have experienced in the United Kingdom”. :: Live updates: Manchester attack2
The target was a pop concert, the audience was a mixture of teenagers, many of them young girls, all out for a fun and innocent evening . Some were young enough to need chaperoning by parents or grandparents. If this does turn out to be an Islamist-inspired attack, the attacker has deliberately targeted everything his warped beliefs hate in a Western society. He has also demonstrated a deadly competence – he blew himself up as the high-spirited crowd streamed out of the arena after the concert .
The timing, and location of the explosion – just outside the main arena itself – suggests planning and shows he probably carried out a recce. The singer Ariana Grande is world-famous . She has more than 45 million followers on Twitter . Another basic but twisted way of guaranteeing this attack will resonate far. The morning after the attack, a number of things will be happening simultaneously and with urgency. In Manchester, counterterrorism police from North West Command will be carrying out forensic work at the scene of the explosion. They will try and find bomb-making signatures that might give a clue as to who was behind this attack.
They will look for certain chemicals, such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP). TATP has been used by terrorists around the world, it is a favoured compound of Islamic State and it is relatively straightforward to make, but it is extremely unstable and lethal. It has been confirmed that the attacker died on the scene – this tells us that something is left of his body. That will be important in identifying him, either facially, through fingerprints, dental records or DNA . Once they know who he is, databases will be scoured . Was he known to the security services ? Does he have known associates?
His home will be searched . So too the homes of any close relatives or friends. People might be detained, questioned and then released . Computers will be taken away and their contents and internet history studied. GCHQ will be looking for a digital trail and if necessary MI6 will speak to foreign partners to build a picture of who this man was and who he knew. Was he acting alone, a so-called lone-wolf (unlikely with this nature of attack), did he have supporters helping him in the UK, was he being remotely ‘directed’ by a centralised body (for example IS leadership in Raqqa)? These are all questions which will have been asked by the Prime Minister as she chaired the COBRA meeting.
The most pressing questions of all though – was this part of a network and should the UK prepare for a secondary attack? COBRA (the dramatic acronym for the mundane Cabinet Office Briefing Room) is attended by key members of Government, including the home and defence secretaries, the heads of the UK’s intelligence agencies and other relevant figures. The Foreign Secretary is in Brussels so wouldn’t have been there in person but could have dialled in, if necessary. The decision to raise the national threat level is one for JTAC – the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. It sits inside MI5’s headquarters on the banks of the River Thames, and acts independent from government although with input from government officials. The threat level is currently set at “severe”, one from the top . It means an attack is highly likely.
If JTAC assesses that another attack is under way or imminent, it will raise that level to the highest – “critical”. The security services have been warning that London isn’t the only target of terrorists wishing to attack the UK. Many smaller cities might be less prepared for an incident like this, but not Manchester. MI5 has a regional base in Bury, just on the outer edges of the city. The police armed response unit is highly trained and on the scene within minutes of the attack. Now and in the coming days, armed police will patrol Manchester city centre, partly for reassurance, partly for increased security. And then there are 22 families, the morning after, at home, mourning the death of loved ones.
“The death of these children will remain with us forever,” a member of the city council told Sky News.
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I am thinking that towards the end of the year, I would like to start a blog up writing on CP driving and other areas. I’m not sure yet how to format it though, or who to run it through. I recently posted a thread about advanced driving on CPW, which had been viewed nearly 2000 times, there was some great feedback, and my hope was that it might be useful to some of you, as I know many are keen to enhance your skills, and want work. So the subject I wish to cover firstly, would be to relate information and knowledge of CP driving methods. From why you should do training, what the roles and responsibilities are, security, aspects of advanced driving etc etc. A big subject. You can check my profile to see my background if that helps. Now I know that some driving techniques are covered in a CP course, but I also know, that some trainers actually haven’t done that much CP driving. The driver, Principal or back up, can be looked down on.
Wrong. A good driver can save heartache, embarrassment and lives, if trained properly. Other than perhaps the PPO, the driver is the one to get the Principal away from danger, if it hits the fan. What I would like to do, is blog, let’s say monthly at first, skills, techniques, tips, I have learnt over the years, and hopefully include include something you don’t know? This will be free information. I’m not charging anyone. I am hoping it will help some who, either decide to complete a course, or for those going on one soon and to give a heads up on what’s required, or those who may just want a bit more info and a good read-I hope. If this goes well, I may extend it to basic CP drills, etc, as it is in a manual. Let’s face it, all the manual info us already in books and in the net, so I doubt I’ll be divulging ‘secrets’.
I realise there will be some TPs who may be thinking that I’m giving away info, that I’m taking away the need for them? but hopefully what this may do, is enhance your students with a bit of foresight before your course, and they might just become better students, let alone operatives. I must say here and now, reading about something is good, but it is no match for taking physical and practical instruction on a course as well, you need both. All I want to do is impart what I have learnt over years, to those who haven’t had my background. So is it worth my time and trouble. Be honest, if there’s no point, I’ll keep quiet. Many thanks.
Horse 49 So, do you think it’s worth me doing it?
Read the article: CP driver information blog