The third volume of the Manchester Arena Inquiry was published today, Thursday 2nd March 2023.
Much of the evidence for this volume was heard in closed hearings and is not being published. However, the open version of the report focuses on the following themes:
The radicalisation of Salman Abedi and development of his extremist mindset
The risk of prisoners detained under the Terrorism Act radicalising visitors
Planning and preparation for the attack
Whether the attack could have been prevented
MI5 and Counter Terrorism Policing’s relationship
Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes has issued the following statement on behalf of national policing partners today:
“I visited the Glade of Light memorial this morning. Standing there and again now, it is impossible not to think of the 22 lives lost.
These are not simply names or faces, but dearly loved and lost people, who should have lived long lives.
All of those affected by the events of 22nd May 2017 are in my thoughts today. I want to acknowledge the courage and dignity that they have shown throughout this inquiry and in the evidence they have given.
And I want to recognise that today marks an important milestone, but that for bereaved families and for others, the impact of the attack never ends.
Spending time listening to the victims and survivors of terrorism drives me, and all of us in policing to do our very best to prevent acts of terrorism, and when attacks happen, to take care of their victims and bring those responsible to justice.
From conversations with colleagues here in the North West, I know they have been determined to support Sir John Saunders’ Inquiry and to make it possible for him to fully examine what happened before the attack at the Arena.
We are equally determined to ensure the insights that come from today’s report are acted on.
Sir John heard from witnesses about the value of past reviews that sought to understand the events of 2017. These have been critical to strengthening our approach to counter terrorism across the country.
We will now respond at pace to the findings made by the Inquiry in both its open and closed reports.
I am speaking today alongside the Director General of MI5. Today’s report describes the partnership between MI5 and Counter Terrorism Policing.
This relationship is long-standing. It has seen us work side by side to overcome significant threats to the safety and security of the United Kingdom.
I am sorry that, despite our determined partnership, we did not stop the loss of life, nor the injury and trauma that happened close to here, almost six years ago.
Since 2017, we have worked to strengthen our partnership even further.
Much of that work goes on in secret but there have been important steps forward.
New facilities like the world-leading Counter Terrorism Operations Centre demonstrate the progress we have made.
Witnesses at the Inquiry described improvements in how we share information. We now have better systems and technology to make that happen, but we must maintain that progress.
This evolution in the way we work is vital because the threat we face is changing, as we have seen in the attacks that have taken place since 2017 and in the dozens of plots that have been disrupted in their late stages since then.
Sir John made important observations about the journey of radicalisation, countering extremism, and about denying terrorists access to information and material to carry out such atrocious acts.
I was here in the days after the attack. I saw and admired the way the people of this city responded.
In the years since then, Sir John Saunders and his team have diligently pursued clarity and candour, and I want to thank them for their work.
Sir John has recognised that people are working hard to stop terrorists and our determination is as strong as ever.
I want those who have lost loved ones to know that their loss has steeled us to ensure our counter terrorism partnerships are stronger, faster and more effective.
And I pledge that alongside MI5 that we will act quickly to apply the findings published today and that we remain relentless in our work to keep the public safe.”