My thoughts today are with the families of the 22 people who lost their lives and all those who have been physically and psychologically affected. The families suffered a terrible loss but have shown great courage and with the first anniversary just eight weeks away this will be a difficult time for them.
From the moment we received the first call on 22 May 2017 about that barbaric act our actions have always been focused on supporting them. In those first few minutes the priority was to save lives while being aware there may be a further attack.
It was an immense and unprecedented situation that faced us and I am proud of the way the officers and staff of GMP responded that night and in the days, weeks and months that have followed. In the face of danger they ran into the Arena as others were running away, they experienced things that no-one should have to experience.
The public recognised what we achieved in responding to the attack and ensuring all the other later events could go ahead and we are eternally grateful for their support.
Lord Kerslake and the review team had a difficult job to do in reviewing the response in those first few days. There was so much we did in responding including dealing with the threat, managing the situation, supporting those affected and that includes many concerned people in our communities, armed patrols on the streets of Manchester, identifying those who had lost their lives and supporting their families and I could go on. Capturing the scale of the largest event GMP has ever had to deal with and the worst terror attack since the London bombings of 2005 was an almost impossible task.
This was a complex situation that required a huge response from GMP with the support of officers from across the UK and significant numbers of officers from the national counter terrorism policing network. The investigation is still underway and is working through more than 12,000 exhibits and has taken to date 2,000 statements.
We have detailed plans in place to respond to major incidents and terror attacks. These provide a framework to support decision making in the response to an incident but at the end of the day we have to deal with the situation that faces us. On 22 May we had a terror attack, many casualties and the possibilities of further attacks. Officers who were in control used their professional knowledge and experience to make sure we did the right thing in those challenging circumstances.
Learning from such exceptional events is so important. This is why we have extensively reviewed and assessed the responses so that learning can be included in future plans. These plans will assist not just GMP but the whole police service. There were a number of matters that were raised and some improvements have already been made. The Kerslake review will now form part of that learning.
On 22 May 2017 we faced a huge challenge and when faced with an unprecedented situation everyone in GMP did their best to help all those affected.