Manchester Arena terrorist attack Inquiry concludes

Manchester Arena

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The Inquiry into the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena , which claimed the lives of 22 people and injured hundreds of others on 22 May 2017 has concluded.

The Inquiry was led by Chairman, Sir John Saunders. The explosion in the arena was caused by Salman Abedi detonating a bomb in the City Room close to one of the exit doors of the arena, with 22 people killed and hundreds seriously injured.

Volume 1 of the report, which focused on the security for the arena, was published in June 2021. Volume 2 of the report from the Manchester Inquiry, which focused on response of the emergency services to the attack, was published in November 2022.

Volume 3 of the report, which focused on the radicalisation of Salman Abedi and whether the attack might have been prevented, was published in March 2023.

Volume 3

On 2 March 2023, Chairman of the Inquiry, Sir John Saunders, released his final volume of the report, comprising an open report and closed one – the latter being one which contains sensitive material to national security and can therefore not be made publicly available.

Experts and witnesses of the Inquiry relevant to this volume included representatives from local schools and colleges, Abedi’s friends and associates, as well as members of the security services (MI5) and Counter Terrorism Policing.

Overall, Saunders concluded that there was a “significant missed opportunity to take action that might have prevented the attack” – which included a failure of the Security Services to act swiftly enough and that actionable intelligence could have been obtained prior to the attack.

The report stated that “no one should underestimate the very difficult job that the Security Service and Counter Terrorism Policing do… [which] has become more difficult with the emergence of lone actor terrorists”. However, Saunders says that mistakes were made, and that these should be identified and steps taken to make them right.


A series of recommendations were made by the Chairman, which included:

  • A scheme be created to prevent extremist prisoners from radicalising those who visit them
  • Education department to consider whether significant behavioural problems should be noted on records if students move school
  • The Government should strengthen legislation on witnesses not complying with inquiries (Abedi’s family did not provide any assistance)
  • Home Office should consider and respond to the 2021 review on laws relating to hateful extremism

Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, commented in response to the findings: “I share the sorrow that MI5 have expressed that this wasn’t prevented. All of us are working to make sure that the improvements that need to be made, are made.”

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