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Are we doing enough to stop the terrorists?

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We all expected it, we all dreaded it and this week we all discovered that despite recent attacks at Westminster and in multiple locations across Europe, we have not yet become desensitised to the horror - some atrocities are simply too shocking.

Liz Hamson, editor of Propety Week

The cowardly suicide attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night is not the first time the northern city has been devastated by a terrorist bomb, of course.

But in the 1996 attack by the Provisional IRA it was only the physical fabric of the city that was destroyed - not people, not innocent children enjoying what should have been one of the most exciting days of their lives.

The attack marks a new low for the terrorists and highlights in the most brutal manner possible their shift to the softest of targets.

It was moving to witness how the people of Manchester responded with such solidarity, spirit and resilience. The city’s property industry too played its part, with the likes of Colliers International offering office space to workers who could not reach their offices due to the police cordon.

Inside of the Manchester Arena

The inside of the Manchester Arena - Source: Rob Sinclair/Creative Commons

The question is: can more be done to protect ourselves against attacks in the first place? Should more be done?

Heightened security presence

I have just returned from a holiday in the south of France and one of the most striking things I noticed having not visited the country for pleasure for three years (Mipim excepted) was the increased security presence.

Armed police and security guards were patrolling the provincial markets and shopping centres and at the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet near Marseille, everybody entering had their bags checked and were scanned by handheld metal detectors.

While on the one hand I found the presence of the police and security personnel disconcerting, on the other it was reassuring - and it is surprising how quickly you get used to it.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet near Marseille

The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet near Marseille

However, it is a step up from what we are accustomed to in the UK, or it was. Sadly, it is something we may soon have to get used to in the wake of this week’s events and not necessarily just in shopping centres. While people have to go through security checks to enter many arenas and venues, they do not to enter areas such as the foyer in the Manchester Arena or transport hubs - the so-called soft targets.

Will we have to get used to a beefed-up security presence in these areas too? This week, as the UK terror threat was escalated from severe to critical, we were given our first taste of what that presence could look like.

I for one am OK with it. We should not change the way we live our lives because then the “losers”, as Donald Trump so aptly if inelegantly described them, will win. But it is a frightening world we now live in and in order not to change, I am happy to put up with the minor inconvenience of being scanned or searched when I enter areas where there are large crowds. It is a small price to pay if it helps prevent another attack.

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