90 days from today is Wed, 19 December 2018
27 March 2018
Greater Manchester Police Federation Chairman Ian Hanson responds to the publication of the Kerslake Review into the Manchester Arena attack.
“Last May, we saw the very best of Greater Manchester Police and our other emergency service colleagues… and that needs to be highlighted and recognised, rather than being forensically picked apart with the benefit of hindsight.”
“Firstly today can I say on behalf of all Greater Manchester Police officers that our thoughts remain with the families of all those who lost their lives on that terrible day in our great city – and indeed all those injured and affected by the atrocities that took place on 22 May last year.
“We in the police service are always looking for ways to improve what we do and better protect our communities and policing is probably the most over-analysed public service there is.
“Whilst I do accept that the Kerslake Report seeks to look at how things could have been done differently, I do feel that we should be careful not to be over analytical and lose sight of the fantastic work that all the responders, not just GMP, did that night. If that were to happen there runs the risk of the unintended consequence of undermining and undervaluing the efforts of some very brave and committed people that night.”
“This was an unprecedented attack the like of which our city had never seen before and no matter how much we try to train our people we can never be fully prepared for what we faced that night.
“We saw incredible bravery, with officers running towards the danger to help victims in the full knowledge that there was a likelihood of a secondary device and also against the backdrop of what turned out to be inaccurate reports of gunshots.
“We saw the very best of Greater Manchester Police - and our other emergency service colleagues - and that needs to be highlighted and recognised, rather than forensically picking it apart with the benefit of hindsight.
“I accept that there were things that we could have done differently, but we are human beings reacting to unprecedented circumstances and we got 95% of it right. I pray this never happens again, but if it did, we would probably get a different 95% of it right because that is the nature of responding to a mass casualty incident.”
“I do though want to pick up on a point within the Report that comments that we should have held a `strategic co-ordination meeting` much earlier than the 4.15am it was convened.
“Whilst I acknowledge the view of the review panel, I have to say that there is no shortage of meetings in modern day policing, but sometimes there is a time for having meetings and equally there is a time for people to step up and provide leadership and actually get on with the job and that’s precisely what was happening between the point the bomb was detonated and 4.15am.
“I do not accept any criticism for not holding enough meetings whilst our city was reeling in the aftermath of the worst event in its history – we just got on with it and I think those caught up in the events of that horrific night respect us for that.
“Finally, I also want to make one further point. It is a national obsession that we want to find fault and criticise and usually it is the police service bears the brunt of that.
“Let’s not forget though that there is one person to blame for what happened that night and that is the bomber. Everything that came afterwards was simply a response from incredibly brave people who simply did their best as they saw it and as a proud Mancunian I want to say thank you to each and every one of you.”