Days after hearing harrowing evidence at the Manchester Arena inquiry, a bomb victim’s mother is at University of Cumbria to support the start of a pioneering counter-terrorism risk management course.
Figen Murray has paid tribute to the university’s vision, explaining terrorism was a threat the country had to live with and that robust safety legislation was vital.
Her son, Martyn Hett, was 29-years-old when he was killed in the 2017 terror attack which claimed 22 young lives.
Mrs Murray, who lives in south Manchester, said it was imperative that people who worked in safety, counter-terrorism and security had the opportunity to receive expert training in risk management.
She explained: “It currently feels that terrorists are a step or two ahead of the rest of us, but hopefully the university’s advanced diploma will help close some of the gaps.”
With course numbers restricted to 12 by Covid, Mrs Murray said she was pleased to be joining students on their first day at Ambleside campus and would be keeping in touch as the course progressed.
She has been the driving force behind Martyn’s Law, which is asking for mandatory vulnerability assessments and proportionate security mitigation at venues to boost safety. It is currently stalled by the coronavirus epidemic.
“I am hopeful this is going to be launched soon and what the university is doing dovetails perfectly,” said Mrs Murray.
“Terrorism is a modern-day menace we all have to live with. Up to the point where we were devastated as a family, I thought it only happened on the news and in films. I never thought we would become the news.
“Although the chances of being involved in an attack are rare, they are totally destructive on the families unlucky enough to be caught up in them. The threats are there and I firmly believe the public should have increased awareness of personal safety.
“The more in-depth specialist training we have means we stand a better chance of dealing with terrorists more effectively. I would like other universities to follow Cumbria’s lead and for these courses to be available across the county.”
Mrs Murray said after the pain and anguish of attending the current Manchester Arena inquiry with 21 other bereaved families, the Cumbrian visit on Tuesday (September 22) offered hope for future security.
Safety expert and course leader, Edward Grant, said Figen Murray’s appearance at the start of the Advanced Diploma in Counter-Terrorism Risk Management course signalled strong messages to students.
He added: “We are delighted to welcome this inspirational, brave woman who has channelled her horrific experience into solid action to help others. I know that our students are going to be motivated and stimulated by what she has to say.”
Specialist tutors include Garry Jones and Phil Boardman, whose STORM4 Events company operates from Conwy in Wales. They are the longest serving trainers for the UK Police Counter-Terrorism Security Coordinator’s course.
Pictures show Figen Murray and her son Martyn Hett, killed in the Manchester arena bombing.