Retired senior police officer Dale Sexton investigated over his evidence to Manchester Arena Inquiry

A retired senior chief inspector is being investigated by the police watchdog over evidence he gave at the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing.

Dale Sexton from Greater Manchester Police, was the force duty officer in the control room on the night of the blast in May 2017 which killed 22 people and injured hundreds.

Giving evidence in May, he told the inquiry he made a deliberate decision to not alert the ambulance and fire services that he had declared Operation Plato, a planned response to a marauding armed terrorist, as he thought it would leave casualties unattended at the explosion site.

He also admitted he made no mention of going against protocol and keeping the declaration secret from partner services when he interviewed as part of the Kerslake Report.

That was the independent review into the emergency response commissioned by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

He denied he had lied to the Kerslake review and described it as an “omission”.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had received a voluntary conduct referral from Greater Manchester Police in relation to oral evidence provided by an officer to the inquiry.

The watchdog said it also received a referral from the force of a complaint submitted on behalf of families of the victims in relation to the same individual.

IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: “The Manchester Arena bombing was a tragedy that had a profound impact right across Greater Manchester and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific act of violence.

Our investigation, which is at an early stage, will focus on the actions of the officer, specifically in relation to the concerns raised by Greater Manchester Police and the families of the victims. It is vital for public confidence in policing that such matters are subject to thorough and independent scrutiny, which is what we will provide.

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