Skip to main content

29th November 2019

Greater Manchester Police blamed for delay in Arena attack inquiry

A public inquiry into the bombing is set to delayed beyond April 2020, due to issue in the force giving evidence
Greater Manchester Police blamed for delay in Arena attack inquiry
Photo: Ardfern @ Wikimedia Commons

Families of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing have voiced their frustration after it was revealed delays to the public inquiry have been caused by the police.

Nearly 30 months after the deadliest terrorist attack in UK since 2005, coroner Sir John Saunders ruled that a statuary public inquiry should be set up to keep sensitive MI5 and police evidence secret.

Twelve organisations were asked to give handwritten statements to the inquiry, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were the only organisation to fail to do this.

The police had been asked to provide key information from offices in command on the night of the incident.

According to GMP, there were problems with missing recordings from the 550 hours of radio transmissions from the night of the attack caused by a system upgrade the force was undertaking on the same night as the bombing.

Fiona Barton QC, who was representing GMP in court, apologised to families and provided some justifications for the missed deadline.

Barton claimed that the statements had been delayed due to the lengthy process of identifying those that should testify out of the hundreds of officers on duty on the night of the attack.

She also stated that work was ongoing to locate the missing audio and that statements from officers were now in the process of being provided for the inquiry.

Sir John Saunders, who is the chairman of the inquiry, warned the force that they could face serious public criticism if it failed to deliver the necessary evidence on time.  A delay could push back the inquiry, with a current scheduled start date of April the 6th, 2020.

Paul Weatherby QC, who is representing relatives of the victims, described the delay as “frankly not good enough”.

Despite Barton’s apology to the families, there was a frosty atmosphere in the courtroom, with one widowed relative describing GMP’s response was “diabolical” while another relative was heard to say that they would not accept the apology.

Last year, a parliamentary watchdog found that there were a series of failures made by police and MI5 in the months preceding the deadly attack.  While the bomber Salman Abedi had been flagged by police as a subject of interest, slow movement within the system prevented a review of his case to take place before the attack in May 2017.









More Coverage

UCU Strikes paused after narrow vote

The strikes have today been called off after an emergency meeting at 11am today. Find out more as we know it

Nine days of strike action planned for start of term

Further disruption as UCU announce strikes on 19-22 September and 25-29 September, coinciding with first two weeks of term

UoM to give some final year students £500 due to UCU boycott

The University has confirmed students who’s final degree classifications have been delayed by the UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott will receive £500 as compensation

UoM students threatened with “data leakage” following cyber attack

Hackers have sent an email to UoM students threatening them with “data leakage”