Police, fire AND ambulance services all FAILED in their response to the Manchester Arena attack, inquiry hears
- Three experts wrote four reports on performance of Greater Manchester Police
- Inquiry heard of delayed and sluggish response by fire and ambulance services
- Only three paramedics went into City Room as dying and injured were evacuated
- Neither fire or ambulance staff could reach police force duty officer, inquiry told
Police, fire and ambulance services all failed in their response to the Manchester Arena attack, a public inquiry heard today.
Three police experts wrote four reports on the performance of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after 22 people were murdered and hundreds injured by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017.
The inquiry also heard of a delayed and sluggish response by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) amid confusion about a possible marauding armed terrorist.
Only three paramedics went into the City Room – where the attack took place – as the dying and injured were evacuated on crash barriers and the fire service did not arrive at the scene until two hours after the explosion.
Neither fire or ambulance staff could reach the police force duty officer, their point of contact, to find out what was going on as he became ‘swamped’ and was not answering the phone line.
Three police experts wrote four reports on the performance of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after 22 people were murdered and hundreds injured by suicide bomber Salman Abedi. Pictured: Police officers and ambulances outside Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017
A handout CCTV image previously shown as evidence at the Manchester Arena Inquiry, showing members of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service moving empty stretchers towards Victoria Train Station, following the terror attack
All 999 services are supposed to work to the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (Jesip), which in shorthand, the inquiry heard, means to co-locate and communicate to work together to co-ordinate a response to a major emergency.
The four reports ran to 1,000 pages and were written by ex-senior officers and specialists with other forces.
Scott Wilson, a former detective chief superintendent and counter-terrorism commander at the Metropolitan Police, listed a number of conclusions the experts had come to.
They included there was ‘no apparent cohesion and co-ordinated response’, a breakdown in communication, operational confusion and no one working to the Jesip principles.
Instead the emergency services were operating independently of each other with GMP ‘operating internally in silo’.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry asked Mr Wilson: ‘Does that represent a significant failure of response by GMP?’
He replied: ‘It does, sir.’
Mr Wilson said it was ‘one of the major failings’ by commanders from police, fire and the ambulance service they did not quickly agree a rendezvous point at the scene to meet and plan their response.
A handout file photo issued by GMP showing the CCTV image of Salman Abedi at Victoria Station, making his way to the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017
The inquiry also heard of a delayed and sluggish response by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS). Pictured: the fire service arriving at Manchester’s Victoria Station following the attack
Andy Berry, the GMFRS duty NILO (national inter-agency liaison officer) rejected the police’s suggestion and sent pumps to Philips Park fire station, three miles away to await further information.
This meant that while police and some paramedics dashed to the scene, firefighters were ordered to drive away amid confusion over an active armed gunman.
Mr Wilson told the inquiry that while emergency personnel balanced the risk of safety with the need to help the casualties, there was an ‘organisational reluctance’ by GMFRS commanders to send in firefighters.
The inquiry, sitting in Manchester, continues.
The four reports ran to 1,000 pages and were written by ex-senior officers and specialists with other forces. Pictured: police at the scene close to Manchester Arena after the attack
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