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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
London: Unanswered questions of 7 July
Zia Trench
Zia Trench
Politics Show London

Bomb victim
The unity of spirit was immense

The Home Office report into the terrorist attack in London on 7 July is published this week.

We've been meeting those affected by events who feel questions are still not being answered...

I met Rachel North at Russell Square tube.

She was in the carriage with the suicide bomber who killed himself and 26 others on a rush-hour tube on 7 July 2004.

Within minutes of the explosion, she and a few others were trying to calm everyone, asking those who were not injured to stand up and help the injured out, using coats for stretchers.

There were two drivers on the train; both, she told me, were fantastic.

Anger followed

One administered first aid, even though there was not any kit on the train and the other used his torch to lead them quarter of a mile down the tracks, to safety.

It is an iconic image; people walking along the tracks and coming out at Russell Square.

It was only in the months after that Rachel became angry.

Screen grab of report
The horror of the scene rapidly unfolded on TV screens

She found out that the radio systems, underground, were so archaic they did not communicate with the other emergency services, nor could they send out any more than one message at a time.

It was later she questioned why it took so long for medical staff to get down to those dead or injured and why the local hospital, two minutes away, was not used until 50 minutes after the bomb went off.

She also queried why it was, that the only person to ask her and other survivors what had actually happened, was 10 months later when the London Assembly looked at operational flaws.

Unity of command

Also, at Russell Square that morning, was Crispin Black.

He is a former security analyst for the government and wrote a book "7/7 What went Wrong?"

He told me that if we really are to improve on the response to large-scale disasters, such as this, or even a fire (like the Kings Cross fire in 1987) the best course of action would be to have what the army calls 'a unity of command'.

One man in charge - he calls the shots and has a direct line to the Prime Minister.

Reporter on TV
Live covereage in Edgware Road

But this suggestion is not in the Home Office report that has been published this week.

It, like the London Assembly's, refers to what could be improved and points specifically to better communications (both below and above ground), better crisis co-ordination and improved services for survivors or those bereaved.

It also lists what it is doing to make things better.

The question is, do reports like this, end up being filed away somewhere and are lessons really learnt?

Also on the programme...

Harriet Harman talks live to Tim Donovan about labour in London and her deputy leadership bid. We also give an open mic to John Macdonald who has also thrown his hat in to the ring. The Politics Show London

Join the Politics Show team on Sunday 24 September 2006 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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