Kerslake Report: Review into Manchester's response to Arena attack

An independent report into the emergency response to the Manchester Arena Terror Attack is to be published later.

Lord Kerslake has headed the review, which focuses on the emergency services, the media and how families of victims were treated in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

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Security Minister Ben Wallace says that firefighter delays 'weren't key' to treating Arena Victims

Ben Wallace MP, Security Minister Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/PA Images

The MP for Wyre and Preston North Ben Wallace has said that delays faced by firefighters responding to the Manchester Arena terror attack were "not key" to whether or not people received treatment, a minister has said.

Speaking in his capacity as Minister for State Security Ben Wallace praised the speed of the response from police, paramedics and ambulance crews while also acknowledging it was "regretful" that the fire service were not there quicker.

The Home Office minister's remarks came after the Government faced calls in the Commons to answer questions about the "serious failing" of the fire service on the night of the attack on May 22 2017.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device in the foyer of Manchester Arena as 14,000 people streamed out at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring scores more.

A report by Lord Bob Kerslake into the emergency response to the attack found poor communications between the police and fire service meant the "valuable" assistance of fire crews was delayed by two hours and six minutes after the bombing.

Dawn Docx, the interim chief fire officer of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, has since apologised while Mark Rowe, north-west secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, said firefighters felt "ashamed" that they could not help victims more quickly.

He told BBC Breakfast that crews were "waiting to be deployed" after the bombing, some of them so close that they had heard the explosion, but "the order never came down from the top".

Within one minute of that explosion, targeted amongst women and children, police, British Transport Police were there, PCSOs were there, paramedics were there and within 12 minutes ambulances were there on the scene.

It is of course regretful that the fire service was not there, but that was not key to whether or not people were getting the treatment they were being given. The other blue light emergency services did a fantastic job.

The biggest point of this report and all terrorist actions is often we start with a point of not knowing what it is.

All members of this House will remember the day on Westminster Bridge when we were locked in offices, shut off from one to the other, because we didn't know whether it was firearms, a bomb, another person in the House or not.

That is the biggest challenge our blue light services face, is it a single explosion?

And I'd reflect on this, if unfortunately we had broken with lots of protocols and there had been a second device, and there's lots of evidence of second devices and second attacks that these people do, I'd hate to have been standing here for another reason saying we exposed our emergency services to too much danger because we rushed in.

It's a very difficult balance to make, I think they made that balance the right call on the night.

– Ben Wallace MP in answer to questions in Parliament

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