Manchester Arena police chief cleared over evidence

A police officer who was the force duty officer for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and was working in the control room on the night of the 2017 Manchester Arena attack will not face disciplinary proceedings over his evidence into the Manchester Arena bombing.

A referral by GMP and a complaint by the victims' families led to an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The police watchdog did not find any evidence that Ch Insp Dale Sexton had committed an offence.

The inquiry heard that on the night of the attack, Sexton declared Operation Plato (the pre-arranged plan for a marauding firearms attack), but did not alert the fire and ambulance services. When asked during testimony why he had not told a previous review about hiding the information, he said: "I felt as if I'd got away with it."

He said he was not proud of the decision and accepted he should have told the full truth.

Inquiry chair Sir John Saunders said he believed Sexton did not make a decision to hide that he had declared Operation Plato from other emergency services.

Saunders did criticise Sexton's failure to inform other emergency services and not declaring a major incident.

The IOPC said: "We independently examined information provided to the inquiry as well as further evidence we gathered, including accounts from the officer."

"We found no evidence that would challenge Sir John's conclusion or indicate that the officer may have committed an offence or behaved in a way that could amount to misconduct."

Richard Scorer, of Slater and Gordon Solicitors, who represents some of the bereaved families said that the families would "be shocked and disappointed but they remain of the view that Mr Sexton failed in his role that night".

Image: Insignia of the Greater Manchester Police by The Laird of Oldham via Flickr:


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