Firefighters had to wait nearly TWO HOURS before entering Manchester Arena in the aftermath of last year’s terror attack when other emergency crews were already inside, a report has found.
Communication issues also had a “critical” impact on emergency services after it was bombed, the author of the report into the atrocity has said.
The Manchester Evening News reports Lord Bob Kerslake has been commissioned by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to review what happened in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack on the Ariana Grande show on May 22 last year, which killed 22 people.
He revealed today that there were ‘certainly things that didn’t go in the way people would have wanted’ during May 22’s blue-light response.
At a press conference to outline his interim findings, Lord Kerslake said: “What we can say already is that the preparations in Manchester were quite significant and that was a beneficial thing in Manchester.
“We can say there was a very powerful civic response.
“But we can also say that there were issues about communication which were critical, both between the different services and between the services and the public.”
Asked whether things had gone “wrong”, he said: “There were certainly things that didn’t go in the way people would have wanted, that is clear, alongside the things that went well.”
Of the interim report, he explained: “We haven’t deliberately at this stage given findings, because we’re going to reflect on the interviews we’ve had and the response has been such that that process has taken longer than originally planned.”
Lord Kerslake, who has so far interviewed 170 family members of victims, added public bodies are now being asked to sign up to a “Hillsborough” charter. This is aimed at ensuring bereaved families are always put first in such situations.
He said the inquiry would also be looking at the role of the mainstream media and social media, including how it affected families.
Mr Burnham, meanwhile, stressed the key role of the review is to uncover what happened by focusing on families. He said it meant asking “difficult questions”, including about families’ experience of the media.
Paying tribute to local media “in particular” for the way it handled coverage, he said most other outlets had also been responsible.
But in certain instances, he said organisations behaved in ways that were “not acceptable”: highlighting intelligence leaked to US media outlets that included horrific images.
He has also met Home Office officials in the last week to discuss how a pilot programme, aimed at ensuring counter-terror information, is better shared across public organisations can be rolled out in Greater Manchester.
Reiterating that experiences of bereaved families are central to the review, Lord Kerslake added they are “still having their lives dominated by he effects of that terrible night”, and that there won’t be “quick closure”.