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Response to Manchester Arena Inquiry report

Published date: 02 Mar 2023

Following the publication of the third volume of the Manchester Arena Inquiry's report, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum said:

The terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena was a terrible tragedy.  The bomber killed 22 innocent people and harmed many others.  My thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed, and with all those whose lives were changed by this appalling act of terrorism.
Having examined all the evidence, the Chair of the Inquiry has found that “there was a realistic possibility that actionable intelligence could have been obtained which might have led to actions preventing the attack.”  I deeply regret that such intelligence was not obtained.  Gathering covert intelligence is difficult – but had we managed to seize the slim chance we had, those impacted might not have experienced such appalling loss and trauma.  I am profoundly sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack.
The people of MI5 and our policing partners come to work every day to stop terrorism.  We continually work to improve the counter-terrorism system; since the terrible events of 2017 we have made more than 100 improvements.  But we are determined to do more.  As the Chair now considers his recommendations, we will engage fully.  Where there are opportunities to strengthen the UK’s defences further, MI5 will act.
We will continue to do everything in our power to keep our country safe from hidden threats.
MI5 exists to stop atrocities.  To all those whose lives were forever changed on that awful night: I am so sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack at the Manchester Arena.


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