Arena attack inquiry: GMP ordered to hand over evidence

Manchester bombing victims Image copyright Various
Image caption Twenty-two people were killed in the attack on 22 May 2017

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has been ordered to hand over evidence for the Manchester bomb inquiry by the region's mayor Andy Burnham.

Last month the force was criticised and accused of jeopardising the start of the public inquiry into the attack in May 2017 which killed 22 people.

GMP had missed a deadline to provide statements from officers in command.

A GMP spokesperson said it was "absolutely committed" to "servicing the requirements" of the inquiry.

Mr Burnham said GMP should "commit whatever resources are required" to submit information to the inquiry by Friday.

"Neither I nor the deputy mayor were made aware by GMP of the delay to their evidence ahead of the hearing last Friday," said Mr Burnham, who is also Greater Manchester's police and crime commissioner.

"We believe we should have been informed and have made this clear to GMP.

"We expect the preparation of these evidence statements to be a top priority for GMP and that they commit whatever resources are required to ensure that the remaining evidence and statements are produced for the inquiry by 6 December."

'Firm commitment'

A GMP spokesperson said it was "absolutely committed to servicing the requirements of the Manchester Arena Public inquiry in every way possible".

"We have a substantial team working on the investigation and it is our firm commitment to support the inquiry going ahead on the dates directed by the chair," the spokesperson added.

Fiona Barton QC, representing GMP, speaking at a hearing on 22 November, said: "It has been a huge undertaking for GMP involving an enormous amount of material."

A preliminary hearing is due to take place on 28 January at Manchester Town Hall with the inquiry scheduled to begin on 6 April.

Twenty two people were killed and hundreds injured when a device was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

The victims' inquests were turned into a public inquiry in October so that secret evidence could be heard behind closed doors.

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