Former Greater Manchester Police officer will not face criminal charges for actions following Manchester Arena bombing

Published: 11 Mar 2024

A former Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer who helped coordinate the police response to the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 will face no criminal charges as a result of an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation relating to evidence they provided to subsequent reviews and debriefs, and during the Manchester Arena Inquiry.

The matter will now progress to a disciplinary hearing where a panel will determine whether they breached the police standards of professional behaviour.

In light of evidence provided to the Inquiry, we received a conduct referral from the force in June 2021. Our independent investigation also included a complaint made on behalf of the families of the victims.

It related to the officer’s evidence to the Inquiry that they made a deliberate decision not to inform other emergency services they had declared Operation Plato, an agreed national identifier to a no-notice marauding terrorist firearms attack. It is alleged that this information was not provided during the various reviews following the attack.

However, the chairman of the Inquiry, Sir John Saunders, considered the officer’s account against a wealth of evidence and was ultimately satisfied they were incorrect in stating they made a deliberate decision to withhold information.

Our investigation concluded in January 2023 and we subsequently sent a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This followed a Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) of our original decision not to make a referral.

The CPS has confirmed no charges will be brought against the officer, who has since retired.

As a result of the VRR process, we also re-opened the investigation for the purpose of revisiting our original decision that the officer had no case to answer in relation to potential misconduct.

A second decision maker, with no connection to the original investigation, determined there was sufficient evidence to indicate the officer may have breached police standards of professional behaviour. As a result, we have informed them they have a case to answer for gross misconduct. GMP will now arrange for disciplinary proceedings to take place.

IOPC Regional Director Emily Barry said: “Our thoughts remain with all those affected by this horrific act of terror. Nothing can make up for the suffering endured by so many as a result of events that night.

“This was a highly complex and challenging investigation. In circumstances like these, thorough scrutiny – both of the police, and our own decision-making, through our Victims’ Right to Review process – is essential to allow the public to have confidence in the police complaints process.

“Ultimately, we found sufficient evidence to indicate the officer may have breached the standards of professional behaviour when subsequently giving accounts of their decision making on the night of the attack. It will now be for a police disciplinary panel to consider the evidence and reach a decision based on all the available information.”

  • Greater Manchester Police