National News

The Kerslake Arena Review

The RFU welcomes the publication of the Kerslake report into the Manchester bombing. The report makes for uncomfortable reading as there are vital lessons for all emergency services to learn in the publication.

We will work with all the appropriate national stakeholders including the Home Office and devolved governments to discuss the implications for all emergency services across the country.

Tristan Ashby, RFU CEO said:

The Kerslake report contains a number of findings that the fire service needs to acknowledge, digest and act upon. Despite the fire sector being awash with well written and practiced procedures that should be embedded across all services, the report raises important questions that need honest answers from those who claim to be the professional leaders of the UK fire and rescue service.

Collaboration between blue light services is a fundamental necessity to provide the public with an efficient, safe and protective emergency service, yet we learn from the report that the communications between the different services on the night were anything but, this is totally unacceptable.

It must also be noted that the key failings contained within the report were nothing to do with firefighters on the ground, who were simply following instruction from their senior officers. It was the strategic response that failed to deliver the appropriate support to the public in a timely fashion.

While others might use the excuse of funding for the inadequate provision, we would prefer to question the service’s preparedness and risk-averse culture that is endemic across our modern society.

Key findings include:

  • Investment in emergency planning meant people were generally able to act with a high degree of confidence.
  • Actions by individuals and organisations on the night demonstrated enormous bravery and compassion.
  • Good judgement was exercised by was exercised key emergency personnel at critical points during the evening.
  • The civic response was exceptional.
  • Vital support and comfort was provided by family liaison officers and bereavement nurses.
  • The removal of the deceased from the Arena was treated with care and sensitivity.

The report makes a number of recommendations for the Greater Manchester emergency services, Government, other local and national bodies and the media.

The Kerslake report can be downloaded in full here.