Criticism delays Manchester Arena bombing report

The report into the emergency services' response to the Manchester Arena bombing has been delayed because of the level of criticism it makes, the inquiry has said.

A spokesman for the inquiry said that the delay was "as a result of the volume of correspondence - in particular the number of 'warnings of criticisms' and the very detailed responses - all of which must be considered."

The publication of volume two of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report had been due to be published at the end of the parliamentary recess in September. It will now be published in early November.

The spokesman added: "The size of this report is substantial and both the chair and the team are confident that the revised date can be achieved."

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has been criticised for a 43-minute "care gap" which was filled by police officers, first aiders and members of the public, who were tending to the injured.

The ambulance service said their response was "reasonable" and they could not have saved eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos and John Atkinson, 28, who experts said might have survived with faster treatment.

Fire fighters only entered the station concourse, underneath the arena, two hours and 18 minutes after the bomb had exploded, and that was in defiance of the instructions of their on-scene commander, who was still asking if it was safe.

By the time they did arrive, it was an hour and seven minutes after the last living casualty had been evacuated from the City Room foyer, where the bomb had gone off, by police officers and members of the public, using makeshift stretchers.

22 people were killed in the attack in 2017

The duty inspector for Greater Manchester Police declared the attack a "marauding terrorist firearms attack", when it was actually a bomb explosion, but did not tell the fire brigade and ambulance service, although both acted as through it was in force anyway, refusing to approach the arena.

The 18-month inquiry began hearings in September 2020 and ended in March this year. The first report, on the security at the arena, was published in June last year.

It remains the chairman's intention to publish both the third and final report, on the security services' investigation, by the end of the year, the spokesman added.

Sir John Saunders, Chair of the Inquiry

The inquiry has heard from 267 witnesses and from 24 experts commissioned by the inquiry. There have been 172,000 pages of documentation disclosed to core participants.