On Monday evening following an Ariana Grande concert, an explosion ripped through Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom. This explosion is being treated as a terrorist incident and has reportedly killed at least 19 people and injured dozens more. In the aftermath of this tragedy, many are likely wondering what security was like at the Ariana Grande concert. While it appears that concertgoers were subject to standard security procedures, it seems that the attack may have taken place outside of the secure area.
According to the New York Times, which interviewed Wes Westley, the president and CEO of SMG, the company that manages the Manchester Arena, security at the concert would have been prototypical for a large arena event. According to Westley, " ... It is obviously as tight security as anywhere in the states ... Backpacks are not allowed. Drinks are taken away from people. You have to go through very strict security to enter the arena."
Manchester Arena's website also confirms some of the aforementioned security restrictions in place at the arena. The website indicates that no food or drinks are allowed into the arena and that only small bags are permitted inside, but they are subject to search. The arena also specifically prohibits various items, like banners, large umbrellas, flashlights, and lasers, among others.
However, the explosion reportedly occurred in the foyer area of the arena, which, according to the Times, is a large public area which connects the arena to the Manchester Victoria rail station. It is an area through which concert goers exit the venue and many parents reportedly wait for their children after concerts. SMG characterized this foyer area as “ ... a public space outside of Manchester Arena,” meaning that individuals could likely enter the space without being subject to arena security procedures. Manchester Arena also confirmed that the explosion took place outside the concert venue, saying on its website that "the incident took place outside of the venue in a public space."
In the wake of the Manchester Arena explosion, many large cities in the U.S, including New York, have stepped up security and are closely monitoring the situation. While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has indicated via a statement that it "has no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States," it has urged the American public to take caution and to expect heightened security procedures in cities and at event venues.
A large area around Manchester Arena remains cordoned off and Manchester Victoria station will remain closed and have no train service through Tuesday. For regular security updates, Manchester Arena recommends following @gmpolice on Twitter.