An independent inquiry into the Manchester Arena terror attack of 22nd May last year has broadly commended the police response and stated that arena operator SMG Europe and security provider Showsec went “above and beyond their roles to provide humanitarian assistance” to victims.
The findings of the Kerslake report, an inquiry established by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in the aftermath of the bombing and conducted by Lord Kerslake were released yesterday. It found significant failings on the part of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), whose firefighters, it says, were ordered to follow protocol and did not arrive at the scene until two hours after the bombing.
Burnham has said that following the attack, he was contacted by “immensely frustrated” firefighters who had been ordered by their superiors to move away from the arena rather than towards it.
The report also highlights communication issues between police and other agencies and the “complete failure” of an emergency telephony system provided by Vodafone, which caused “considerable distress on the night to families who were frantically seeking to find out more information about what had happened to their loved ones”.
However, emergency services, arena bosses, staff, first-aiders and the wider local community were commended for their response to the attack which occurred when a suicide bomber detonated an improvised device outside the 21, 000 capacity venue as people left following an Ariana Grande concert. 22 people died in the attack.
The report concluded: “The panel recognises that SMG, Showsec and EMT-UK [first-aid] personnel went above and beyond their roles to provide humanitarian assistance, and that many of them attended to casualties in the foyer to the best of their abilities, putting aside concern for their own safety in order to try to save others.”
Lord Kerslake commented: “There is a lot to be proud of in the response to the attack, both for the city region of Greater Manchester and for the emergency services. The benefits of collaborative working and planning for emergencies were demonstrated to the full. And there were hundreds, if not thousands, of individual acts of bravery and selflessness”
He continued: “But it’s also vital to learn the lessons around things that did not go so well. It matters not just for the people of Greater Manchester and beyond who were caught up in the terrible events of that night, but also for places that might be caught up in such an attack in the future”.