Manchester bomb police chief denies he misled review of 999 response

The chief constable at the time of the Manchester Arena bombing has denied that he misled an independent preliminary review in the emergency response.

There were significant multi-agency communication failures as firefighters took more than two hours to arrive and only three paramedics entered the city room foyer, where the explosion occurred, a public investigation into the May 2017 attack is heard.

Other blue light services could not get through to a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) force duty officer – the incident’s initial commander – and the public, police officers and members of the venue staff had to use temporary stretchers to move casualties. hearing has been called.

Ian Hopkins said he was not aware of such inter-agency failures when the GMP’s response to the incident was outlined in a letter to Lord Kerslake.

Kerslake led the review ordered by area mayor Andy Burnham, which was published in March 2018.

Earlier this month, when giving evidence, current Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling publicly apologized for failures by the GMP “primarily failing to complete Jessip’s basic tasks.” [Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles] In the early stages of the phenomenon, which significantly affected joint functioning. “

Pete Weatherby QC, representing the bereaved families, suggested to Mr Hopkins that in his signed letter to Lord Kerslake on 8 November 2017 he was giving a “rose-coloured description of the response that went smoothly without any problems”. Were.

Mr Hopkins denied the allegation, saying: “I think it was trying to give Lord Kerslake a taste of what happened in the night, the scale of what was happening, and the fact that the review was going to look in more detail.” Was for. On this.”

Mr Weatherby said, “It doesn’t raise the issues we’ve been discussing about Jessip’s failures, does it?”

“That’s because I don’t think we were aware of failures to the extent that we are now. At that time no one was talking about that level of failure,” replied Mr. Hopkins.

Mr Weatherby said, “Six months after the GMP had debriefed, you had established a team under Mr. Pilling, senior officials, a legal team, and here we are with a critical review set up by the mayor, and quite Clearly, objectively, a misleading picture is being painted here, isn’t it?”

Mr Hopkins said: “I think, looking at it now, almost four years later, I can see the point you are making. But that was clearly nobody’s intention.”

Mr Hopkins said he worked with the Kerslake Review to learn a lesson, to find out what had happened.

Mr Hopkins resigned from his post in December when Mr Burnham asked him to resign in the wake of a scathing report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which showed the force was able to properly handle 80,000 crimes. failed to record.

The investigation into the terror attack that killed 22 people and injured hundreds of others is ongoing.

Includes reporting by PA

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