Manchester Attack: What can be done to make public spaces safer?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


A suicide bomber has killed 22 people and injured many more at a concert in the Manchester Arena. Is there any way of protecting crowded public spaces from terrorists?

When counter-terrorism experts talk about protecting crowded places, they ask us to think about security as the rings of an onion.

The centre of the onion is the target - perhaps a government building, military base, shopping centre or other public place.

Around that are the rings of the onion - the obstacles and barriers that an attacker must first get past.

The most obvious defences are physical ones: the bollards, gates and chicanes that can stop attackers intent on using vehicles.

Unfortunately, if these are effective there is the potential that the threat will shift to easier targets, including crowded public spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationBBC News
PublisherBBC Online
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017


  • Protecting crowded places
  • terrorism
  • communication
  • public
  • behaviour
  • security
  • psychology
  • deterr


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