The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has admitted that the force’s “significant failings” are partly to blame for the deaths that occurred following a radical Islamic terror bombing at Manchester Arena in 2017.
“On 22 May 2017 at the Manchester Arena, 22 people were murdered and over 1,000 injured, in a planned, indiscriminate and cowardly act of abject barbarity,” began Chief Constable Stephen Watson, following the publication of official inquiry findings into law enforcement’s handling of the attack.
“The comprehensive report that we received this morning records the very detailed summation of Sir John Saunders’ findings and is the embodiment of the care taken by him to fulfil its purpose. We recognise that many aspects of the latest published volume will make for difficult and distressing reading for those most affected,” continued Chief Constable Watson in the statement, which is available in full on GMP’s website.
— Manchester News MEN (@MENnewsdesk) November 4, 2022
“I fully accept the findings of the Chair, Sir John Saunders… our coordination of the response to this atrocity was inadequate,” the senior officer admitted,
“We had failed to plan effectively and the execution of that which had been planned, was simply not good enough. Our actions were substantially inadequate and fell short of what the public had every right to expect.
“For this I apologise unreservedly.”
Police Knew of Manchester Arena Bomber’s Terror Connections Three Years Before Attack https://t.co/3ydnjdlhdD
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 16, 2022
Chief Constable Watson — not himself the leader of GMP during the attack — went further, saying the force’s “failure to effect proper command and control of the incident, from the outset, undermined an effective multi-agency response to a dreadful set of circumstances.”
“We did not act upon learning from previous exercises which could have reduced the burden or impact felt on the Force Duty Officer. Poor communications, poor planning, inadequate training and shortcomings in strategic leadership all played a part in our failure,” he said.
“All of these failings could, and should, have been identified and mitigated through learning from robustly designed training exercises under the auspices of our Local Resilience Forum. Alas these were opportunities that were not sufficiently taken.
“Sadly, GMP’s combined failings were significant and contributed to the loss of life,” he admitted.
Manchester Police Was Warned About Terror Response Deficiencies Six Months Before Attack https://t.co/qBlVxfRXgP
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 10, 2021
While the mea culpa appears far more unreserved than similar “lessons have been learned” admissions of failure by multiple British police forces, including GMP, on mostly Muslim grooming rape gangs, however, they still share something in common insofar as there is no indication that any current or former officer will actually be substantially punished, either through sacking, loss of pension rights, or pursuit on criminal charges.
Indeed, the Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for counter-terrorism at the time of the attack, Steven Heywood, was later awarded a medal.
His successor Russ Jackson was himself the “operational lead for Counter Terrorism policing North West” at the time of the attack, according to his LinkedIn page — and also received a medal in the years following the attack.
GMP has so far failed to respond to question from Breitbart London as to whether or not Heywood, Jackson, or other officers in leadership positions on counter-terrorism during the bombing will now be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation.
Sir John Saunders condemned the British Transport Police (BTP), Manchester Arena’s operators SMG, security contractors Showsec, and even singled out individuals for their failures to assess the terrorist even after members of the public had raised concerns https://t.co/JnCe7DCv3F
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 18, 2021