Police in Manchester ‘far better prepared’ for terror attack, inquiry is told
Terry Woods, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), spoke at a hearing to monitor recommendations made following the public inquiry into the attack, carried out at the Manchester Arena by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22 2017.
He said a structure put in place by GMP to learn lessons after the attack will remain.
“It will be an assurance to us and I hope the public that if anything happens again we will be far better prepared,” he said.
He added: “This attack happened on our patch. It’s never not going to be in the DNA of GMP. It’s important to us and that’s one of the reasons why this will carry on.”
He told the hearing on Monday, which was attended by family members of some of the 22 people killed, the inquiry will have a “legacy” in the force.
Asked by the inquiry chairman, Sir John Saunders, if police in other areas of the country should be doing more, Mr Wood said: “As it stands, at present, yes.
“I do think other forces should be doing more.”
But he said there have been “positive moves” towards more training nationally.
Mr Woods said police had fulfilled recommendations, including to regularly review its major incident plan and ensure it has guidance on the roles of North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
The public inquiry found a decision to send fire appliances three miles away from the scene led to crews arriving more than two hours later.
Sir John said: “To me, one of the most surprising things of the inquiry is that people didn’t realise the fire service were not there, with all their ability to remove people.”
The inquiry, sitting for three days for evidence about progress on recommendations, also heard from representatives of arena operator SMG and the British Transport Police.
Counsel to the inquiry Paul Greaney KC said: “This week is an opportunity to identify what is being done to drive change that is needed to avoid the repetition of what went so wrong and also to examine whether more still can be done.”
The chairman said on Monday he has issued the second part of the third volume of his report, which deals with the security services and counter-terror policing and is not being made public.
He told the hearing it is of “critical importance” the recommendations are monitored and said he hopes it can be done by Parliament’s intelligence and security committee.
He said: “It’s important the public and those who have been closely involved in this inquiry, such as the bereaved families, receive an assurance that recommendations I have made are being carried out.”