UK 'Failure of process and communication' on night of Arena bomb, inquiry told last minute news


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- Police were also criticised for only doing 'their bit' in terror training exercises

UK 'Failure of process and communication' on night of Arena bomb, inquiry told last minute news


PremierLeague-News.Com

- Police were also criticised for only doing 'their bit' in terror training exercises

UK 'Failure of process and communication' on night of Arena bomb, inquiry told last minute news
22 February 2021 - 19:15

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A former fire service chief said there was a 'failure of process and communication' on the part of the emergency services on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has already apologised for taking more than two hours to respond to the attack. The public inquiry into the atrocity has heard information given to GMFRS led them to assume the bombing was part of an ongoing terrorist attack. There was 'silence' from other partner agencies on the night, which 'fed the assumption'. And on the night of the bombing, there was only one paramedic at the area where the bomb exploded for the first 40 minutes. John Fletcher, a now retired group manager who was head of resilience at GMFRS, returned to give evidence to the inquiry on Monday. John Cooper QC, for some of the families of victims, suggested what happened on the night was, as far as the emergency services were concerned, a 'failure of process, a failure of leadership and a failure of culture'. CCTV shows the fire service arriving at 12.36am (Image: Arena Inquiry) Mr Fletcher agreed it was a failure of process. "I think it was a failure of process and communication," he said. Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a rucksack bomb in a foyer area of the Arena, known as the City Room, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more. The inquiry has heard the Greater Manchester Police Force Duty Officer (FDO) did not to tell other agencies he had declared Operation Plato, the codename given for the specific response to a continuing, marauding terror strike. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here Mr Fletcher was asked about the fire service's role in helping police tackle marauding terrorist firearms attacks (MTFAs). The inquiry was told of specially trained 'technical response units' and that fire services can request 'additional assets', which is what happened on the night. Firefighters in the Specialist Response Teams (SRTs) carried kit including tourniquets and dressings, and blast bandages to treat burns and other wounds. The 22 victims of the bombing (Image: MEN) Mr Fletcher said MTFA 'capability' from Manchester should have been used on the night, but it wasn't. He said Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's MTFA 'capability' was also on stand-by, but they were not 'mobilised forward' because GMFRS's MTFA capability hadn't been mobilised. Questioned by Mr Cooper, he agreed fire service support could have helped the victims and the 'dying'. "We had a decent capability available on the night," Mr Fletcher said. Mr Cooper put it to him that if 'communications fail, MTFA will fail'.

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." Mr Fletcher said: "As happened on the night, there was a catastrophic failure in communication and it did fail to deploy the assets, so I would have to say yes." Part of the MTFA 'capability' involved enhanced medical training, the inquiry was told. Mr Fletcher agreed specialist bandages and tourniquets could have been 'particularly important' to those injured, agreeing with a suggestion by Mr Cooper they 'could have been a matter of life and death if applied promptly'. Armed police in the Arena after the attack (Image: Arena Inquiry) Mr Fletcher said the actions of police at terror training exercises held before the atrocity was a 'concern' to his colleagues at the time. The inquiry heard police focused on doing their 'bit' in isolation, but weren't interested in what the other emergency services were doing and didn't help out with mock casualties. GMP, it was said, had a 'lack of understanding' of the capabilities of the other blue light services. The inquiry chairman, Sir John Saunders, suggested the police were only interested in 'neutralising any threat' in terms of training exercises, and they would then consider their role to be over. Mr Fletcher agreed with a suggestion made by Mr Cooper that police 'took a step back' in MTFA training exercises, saying 'strong words' were expressed between the fire service and the ambulance service over the police after one counter-terror drill in 2014. David Whittle, a former GMP inspector and police firearms training expert, agreed that if there was to be a 'failure' in a response to an incident like the Arena attack, it was likely to be the FDO. The police watchdog had warned GMP before the attack that an officer in the role could be 'overwhelmed' with work, the inquiry has heard. previously. Mr Whittle said there was 'far too much' pressure on the role - and likened it to being hit by a tidal wave. Giving evidence at the inquiry, he said: "It's on you - and there is nothing you can do. "Nothing you can do to get out of the way of it." But the inquiry heard Mr Whittle wrote new guidance for use in GMP in April 2017, based on existing documentation and updating plans already in place, which increased the number of actions a FDO should carry out in the event of an MTFA. He said, however, a FDO was 'responsible for ensuring these things occur', but it didn't mean an FDO would have to complete all the actions personally. Mr Whittle added that it was 'completely incorrect' that GMP had no interest in 'interoperability' during terror training exercises, in reference to the criticism. The inquiry continues on Tuesday.

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