Last night, I was in the audience at a performance of “Judy” at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. With others, I stood to applaud the cast at the end of a wonderful show, then headed into a theatre foyer buzzing with life.
Two hundred miles away in Manchester, there must have been very similar feelings of enjoyment as the audience for the Ariana Grande concert stood and cheered at the end of the show, then turned and headed for the concert hall foyer.
I cannot even begin to imagine what perversion of the human mind it must take for someone to feel that taking another person’s life is, somehow, justified or merited. Yet it appears that, last night, a lone attacker detonated an explosive device in the Manchester Arena foyer, injuring (as I write) at least 59 people and killing 22, including several children.
Our tweet this morning spoke for all of us at Policing Insight:
There’s little that can be said this morning other than that our hearts go out to everyone affected by the despicable attack in #Manchester
— Policing Insight (@PolicingInsight) May 23, 2017
And yet, as Publisher of Policing Insight, I feel there is a little more that needs to be said.
There are some this morning who have lost loved ones – children, parents, loved ones, friends. Our thoughts are with them, our tears are for them.
There are some this morning who are fighting for their lives. Our thoughts are with them, that they pull through and recover.
There are some this morning who are injured. Many at the scene have physical injuries. Our thoughts are with them, and with those at the scene (and beyond) affected by psychological and emotional trauma as a result.
My thoughts are also with the truly outstanding men and women of our police and emergency services who responded last night in Manchester, and who continue to respond each and every day, with bravery and expertise, across these Isles. Not just those attending the scene, but the very many others in support. Together, you make a formidable team. It can never be said enough: thank you, thank you for your service.
There will be time over the coming days and weeks to consider the wider implications of, and lessons to be drawn from, this horrific act.
For the moment, though, I want to close by reflecting also on the generosity and humanity of those across Manchester who have offered help, comfort and support.
Manchester: stand proud.