HomeWorld NewsRetired cop 'got away' with Manchester Arena evidence concealment
Retired cop 'got away' with Manchester Arena evidence concealment
Retired Chief Inspector is probed by police watchdog after claiming he ‘got away’ with concealing evidence from Manchester Arena bomb inquiry
Chief Inspector Dale Sexton was on duty in the control room on night of blast
He did not alert ambulance and fire services he had declared Operation Plato
Operation Plato is planned emergency response to a marauding armed terrorist
He failed to reveal his actions when interviewed during an independent review
A retired senior police officer is being investigated by a watchdog after he said he ‘got away’ with concealing evidence from Manchester Arena bombing inquiry.
Chief Inspector Dale Sexton, of Greater Manchester Police, was the force duty officer in the control room on the night of the blast in May 2017 which killed 22 people and injured hundreds.
Giving evidence in May, he told the inquiry he made a deliberate decision to not alert the ambulance and fire services that he had declared Operation Plato, a planned response to a marauding armed terrorist, as he thought it would leave casualties unattended at the explosion site.
However, he admitted he made no mention of going against protocol and keeping the declaration secret from partner services when interviewed in 2018 as part of the Kerslake Report, an independent review into the emergency response commissioned by mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
He told the inquiry: ‘I didn’t want for that decision almost to be known. I don’t know why, but it was certainly something which wasn’t mentioned to Kerslake.
‘I don’t know why I didn’t mention it. But I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to – as I had seen it, for me I’d almost got away with it on the night, as in I’d achieved to keep people at the scene providing medical treatment, and then after that, I suppose knowing that it was such a significant deviation, I really didn’t want to draw light to it.’
Chief Inspector Dale Sexton, of Greater Manchester Police, was the force duty officer in the control room on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing
The scene close to the Manchester Arena after the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert
He denied he had lied to the Kerslake review and described it as an ‘omission’.
On Monday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had received a voluntary conduct referral from Greater Manchester Police in relation to oral evidence provided by an officer to the inquiry.
The watchdog added it also received a referral from the force of a complaint submitted on behalf of families of the victims in relation to the same individual.
IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: ‘The Manchester Arena bombing was a tragedy that had a profound impact right across Greater Manchester and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific act of violence.
‘The events of that night are subject to an ongoing public inquiry and our work will not seek to replicate that. Our investigation, which is at an early stage, will focus on the actions of the officer, specifically in relation to the concerns raised by Greater Manchester Police and the families of the victims.
‘It is vital for public confidence in policing that such matters are subject to thorough and independent scrutiny, which is what we will provide.’
Sexton told the inquiry he made a deliberate decision to not alert the ambulance and fire services that he had declared Operation Plato, a planned response to a marauding armed terrorist
Salman Abedi (pictured) hid for nearly an hour on the upstairs level of the foyer at Manchester Arena before he detonated his home-made explosives in May 2017
It comes after an ambulance service commander agreed in June that ‘no leadership’ was provided by him on the night of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
Deputy director at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Neil Barnes was the on-call Gold commander, the most senior NWAS officer, on the night suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated explosives at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
The suicide bomber hid for nearly an hour on the upstairs level of the foyer out of sight of CCTV cameras before he detonated his Karrimor rucksack filled with explosives – killing 22 people and inuring 119.
Mr Barnes, who had overall responsibility for ‘command, response and recovery’ in the event of a major incident, chose to stay at home and await more information after taking the first call about an ‘incident’ at the arena, the inquiry heard.
He denied the fact that being on annual leave the next day and him being due to catch a flight out of the country had anything to do with the decision.