The mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett has launched a government petition campaigning for all large venues across the UK to have a legal obligation to provide adequate security checks at their events.
Having lost her son Martyn in the 2017 Arena bombing that took the lives of 22 concert goers, Figen Murray is petitioning the government after she recently attended an event and was shocked to discover that they didn’t have any security measures in place.
When her two youngest daughters bought her and her husband tickets to see Katie Melua in concert at The Lowry, she was upset and anxious during the show due to a lack of security checks at a city centre venue.
“On the night I deliberately took a small handbag with me as I thought that’d make the security check easier – but to my surprise nobody even wanted to see our tickets, never mind checking bags or anything else. There was absolutely no security whatsoever.
“Every time I heard doors opening I felt really uneasy and was very anxious. I know it’s because I’ve been bereaved in a bad way, but when my husband turned to me and thought I was emotional because of the music, it was actually because I was so sad at the lack of security which is the reason why my son died at the Manchester Arena.
“The room that we were in holds up to 1,700 people. Do those people not count? All human life is valuable.”
After wrongly assuming that all venues were now implementing stricter security measures as a result of the Arena terror attack, she now feels that it’s up to her to do something about the issue.
She has launched an online petition demanding that metal detectors and bag searches should be an obligatory safety measure at all big public events – and has so far obtained over 3,881 signatures from concerned citizens.
MY PETITION IS LIVE!Please sign and share with as many people as you can. This affects everyone of us as we all attend concerts, theatres, football matches, other big events. Let’s keep everyone much safer. Million thanks for sharing. https://t.co/JCDMuWi9VJ
— Figen Murray (@FigenMurray) December 17, 2018
“Times have changed,” Figen told us. “I’m not suggesting that everything should be policed or every single little theatre should have these security measures, but for the bigger venues it’s an absolute must. They charge a lot of money per ticket and as part of that we should all feel safe at events that we pay a lot of money for.”
The petition has gained a lot of attention on social media, with a substantial majority agreeing that this is a necessary step in order to ensure people feel safe.
“I would say 95% of people have been very positive and supportive – but there are some people that think smaller venues wouldn’t make enough money and would have to shut down as they can’t afford extensive security measures.
“I’ve confirmed prices for security equipment and you can purchase a handheld metal detector wand for anything from £18 up to £350 – and a walk through metal detector costs roughly £3,000.
“The people checking tickets at venues could be the ones to do bag searches when guests enter venues – it doesn’t need to be an extra cost of security. And a couple of thousand pounds isn’t going to break the bank to a great extent – venues have a duty to look after their guests.
“Bigger arenas around the country now do this as standard after the Manchester bombing – and if they had these measures in place before hand, my son would be alive and so would the other 21 people who died.
“I’m not asking for the earth and I’m not asking for a police presence or a massive security cost. Just simple bag searches and metal detector checks to ensure peoples safety.
“Whether you’re going to the cinema or a concert, football matches or the theatre, it is a massive issue for all of us and just because the bombing was 20 months ago now, doesn’t mean it’s going to go away forever.
“It will happen again in the future sooner or later – we just need to try and avoid the risk as much as possible.
“Everybody uses public venues at some point in their lives and we all should be able to watch a show, a football match, a music concert or festival – with the knowledge that actually every measure has been taken to ensure our safety at these events.”