The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today announced it will be referring a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to the actions former Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer Chief Inspector Dale Sexton when providing information to various reviews following the Manchester Arena bombing.
The IOPC independently investigated a complaint on behalf of families of the victims of the terror attack, as well as a separate conduct referral from the force, in relation to oral evidence provided by Chief Inspector Dale Sexton who has now retired, to the Manchester Arena Inquiry.
In his evidence to the Inquiry, Chief Inspector Dale Sexton claimed he made a deliberate decision not to inform other emergency services that they had declared Operation Plato, an agreed national identifier to a no-notice marauding terrorist firearms attack. Chief Inspector Sexton did not provide this information at any of the previous reviews.
On conclusion of its investigation, in February 2023, The IOPC made a provisional decision that there was insufficient evidence to indicate the Chief Inspector may have breached the standards of professional behaviour or committed a criminal offence.
They subsequently completed and upheld a Victims’ Right to Review (VRR), which was requested by the families of the victims. A second decision maker, with no connection to the original investigation, reviewed the substantial evidence gathered during the IOPC investigation and determined an offence may have been committed.
The IOPC will begin preparing a file of evidence for the CPS to consider any possible charges.
IOPC Director of Operations Amanda Rowe said: “The Manchester Arena bombing was a tragedy that had a profound impact right across Greater Manchester and beyond. It will live long in the memories for all the wrong reasons and our thoughts remain with all those affected by this horrific act of violence.
“This was a complex investigation, carried out independently of police, and investigators obtained a significant amount of information, which was considered as part of our decision-making.
“In cases like this, and in line with other organisations, victims and complainants have a right to have their case reviewed by someone unconnected to the original investigation. In this instance, we determined the matter requires further exploration and will be submitted to the CPS to consider in due course.
“A referral to the CPS does not necessarily mean that criminal charges will be authorised. It will now be for prosecutors to determine whether charges should follow and, if so, what those charges may be.”
We launched our VRR scheme in December 2020 to allow victims to request a review of our decisions not to refer matters to the CPS.
The scheme applies in all independent, managed and directed investigations that have previously been designated by the IOPC as criminal investigations and is in line with similar schemes operated by the CPS and police forces. At the end of these investigations, if a provisional decision is made not to refer the case to the CPS, under the VRR scheme victims can request a review of the decision.