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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
London bombing reports: key findings
Key findings of two reports, both published on 22 September, on the bomb attacks in London on 7 July 2005, in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured hundreds of others.

HOME OFFICE - LESSONS LEARNED

The Home Office said it would be acting on the findings of the 32-page report. Lessons from the Emergency Response was based on interviews with survivors and the families of victims.

OVERVIEW

  • The emergency response demonstrated the strength and flexibility of planning arrangements.
  • Securing national preparedness is a continuous activity and it is vital lessons are identified from previous incidents.
  • The 2004 Civil Contingencies Act provided a long-term foundation for building resilience across the UK by providing a clear set of roles and responsibilities.
  • The government does not believe a public inquiry would add to understanding of the attacks and would divert resources away from the police and security agencies.
  • Survivors and bereaved families felt the practical and emotional the support they received after the attacks could have been better.
  • SUPPORT

  • Government contact was seen as slow and agencies did not work together to share information.
  • Those trying to find loved ones found it difficult to get information about which hospitals injured people were being treated in.
  • Getting the right help in place is of critical importance and we are working hard to strengthen our emergency response
    John Reid, Home Secretary

  • There were concerns about the time it took to identify victims and some families were not kept informed.
  • Some felt only the most severely injured received adequate official support and information, prompting many survivors to turn to other sources.
  • Contact details of survivors were not better shared among key organisations because of concerns over the Data Protection Act.
  • People living outside London felt let down by support services.
  • Concerns were raised over the amount of compensation and delays in decisions and receiving payments.
  • A centre operational by July 9 provided information and support. But many did not hear about it or thought it was not for them, because it was referred to as a family assistance centre.
  • EMERGENCY RESPONSE

  • The police casualty bureau was overwhelmed by calls - made worse by technical difficulties.
  • It proved very difficult for the bureau itself to obtain reliable information about casualties, especially foreign nationals.
  • Details were not collected from many people caught up in the events so that they could be put in touch with advice and support. Many were left feeling forgotten or unimportant.
  • There were limited medical emergency supplies available at rail and Underground stations for first-aiders.
  • COMMUNICATION

  • Telecommunications equipment used by the emergency services generally worked well.
  • Difficulties in using older systems telecommunication equipment probably degraded the emergency services' command and control capabilities.
  • Any telecommunication difficulties did not led to a delay in rescuing people.
  • The use of mobile telephones by front-line staff in the emergency services should decrease with the move to new dedicated digital radio systems.
  • Mobile network management caused considerable worry and distress as families and friends had difficulty contacting each other.
  • Without special antennas, mobile radios, telephones, and airwave handsets do not work well on the London Underground or in basements.
  • LONDON REGIONAL RESILENCE FORUM - LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD

    The 62-page report was produced by a coalition of emergency services, transport, NHS and central and local government agencies.

    OVERVIEW

  • The response was not perfect but the overall multi-agency emergency efforts were very successful thanks to four years of planning and exercises.
  • Potential additional loss of life and suffering had been considerably reduced by effective action. No life was lost because of poor planning.
  • The events of 7 July did not exceed the capacity of the responding agencies.
  • Telecommunications was cited as the greatest single area of concern.
  • EMERGENCY RESPONSE

  • The initial response by London Underground staff was exemplary because of training and individual dedication and courage.
  • London Buses reacted quickly and effectively and maintained staff morale in order to reinstate the network later in unaffected areas.
  • Hospitals were rapidly made ready, with 1,200 beds were available within three hours.
  • London Fire Brigade and the ambulance service's mutual aid arrangements were successfully put into operation, with medics supported by the voluntary sector.
  • London Underground evacuation procedures worked well.
  • But police officers were too strict on the cordons, preventing engineers and others getting to the sites.
  • A Gold co-ordinating group and strategic co-ordination centre was rapidly established but its north-west London location was not easily reached.
  • The London Mass Fatality Plan worked well with coroners, police, local authorities, pathologists and the London Resilience Team quickly delivering a "resilience mortuary".
  • SUPPORT

  • A number of agencies rapidly put in place a Family Assistance Centre but its name deterred many people.
  • Police and local authority arrangements for communication with minority communities worked well.
  • A disaster fund plan was implemented with the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund raising some 11.5m.
  • Exhaustion of workers in the days after the attacks caused concern over the potential impact of a "sustained" bombing campaign.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS

  • In future responders should not rely on mobile phone networks, which became heavily congested.
  • A dedicated digital communications network for emergency services across London was needed.
  • The disabling of mobile phones to all but 999 calls could be "counter-productive". Some emergency workers on the ground were affected when this was invoked and the public tend to rely on mobile telephones.
  • Better medical supplies will be placed at major transport hubs after a lack of supplies became apparent on 7 July.
  • Those responding to the attacks received a large number of requests for information from the government - in future all requests should go through senior co-ordinators.



  • VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
    Scenes from the aftermath of the July bombings



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