Volume 2: Views and information from organisations

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Report of the 7 July Review Committee

Volume 2: Views and information from organisations

June 2006

Volume 2: Views and information from organisations


Transcript of hearing on 3 November 2005 3 Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police, British Transport Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service

Transcript of hearing on 1 December 2005

Telecommunications companies: BT, O2, Vodafone, Cable & Wireless 61

Communication with businesses: London Chamber of Commerce & Industry 90

and Metropolitan Police Service

Transcript of hearing on 11 January 2006 Local authorities: Croydon Council (Local Authority Gold on 7 July), Camden 109 Council, Tower Hamlets Council and Westminster City Council

Health Service: NHS London, Barts & the London NHS Trust, Great Ormond 122 Street Hospital, Royal London Hospital and Royal College of Nursing

Media: Sky News, BBC News, BBC London, ITV News, LBC News & Heart 132 106.2, Capital Radio and London Media Emergency Forum, Evening Standard, The Times

Transcript of hearing on 1 March 2006 147 Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner

Written submissions from organisations Metropolitan Police 167 City of London Police 175 London Fire Brigade 181 London Ambulance Service 199 London Underground 231 NHS Care Services Improvement Partnership/London Development Centre 241 7th July Assistance Centre 247 City of London 251 Westminster City Council 257 Croydon Council (Local Authority Gold on 7 July) 259 Health Protection Agency 261 British Red Cross 267 London Chamber of Commerce & Industry 269 Chrysalis News 270 Daily Mail 271 Home Office (Hazel Blears) 272

7 July Review Committee

3 November 2005

Transport for London:

Tim O’Toole, Managing Director, London Underground

Peter Hendy, Managing Director, Surface Transport

Paul Mylrea, Director of Group Media Relations

Chris Townsend, Director of Group Marketing

Metropolitan Police Service

Assistant Commissioner Alan Brown

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ron McPherson

Dick Fedorcio, Director of Public Affairs

Commander Chris Allison

Detective Superintendent Rick Turner

Superintendent Peter Smith; from the Metropolitan Police Service

City of London Police

Chief Superintendent Alex Robertson

British Transport Police

Deputy Chief Constable Andrew Trotter

Chief Superintendent Peter Hilton

London Fire Brigade

Assistant Commissioner, Ron Dobson

Rita Dexter, Director of Corporate Services

James Flynn, Head of Communications

London Ambulance Service

Russell Smith, Deputy Director of Operations

Angie Patton, Head of Communications

Richard Barnes (Chair): Thank you all very much indeed for coming this morning. I particularly thank you all for the help, consideration, honesty and courtesy with which you have dealt with us over the last couple of months, as we have been doing the research to get the panel together and to identify the areas that we are going to be looking at. Your openness has been unbelievably refreshing and a total reassurance to Londoners.

I also at this stage want to acknowledge the tremendous work put in by all those who were on the front line on 7 July. I think we must acknowledge London Underground (LUL) staff, who, certainly at three of the incidents were the first on the scene: the drivers, station staff and others who were there before everybody else endeavouring to give help and succour to the injured. Indeed, we have had a number of emails to our email address pointing out the sheer and total appreciation for the LUL staff. We are all

aware of the tremendous work which the blue light services did. We owe you a debt of honour that you have repaid on a daily basis since 7 July. It has been incredibly impressive for all of us.

The purpose of the Committee is to identify where things could have gone a little smoother and a little better, as well as the lessons that can be learnt so that should there be another incident we are more prepared and in a better position to help both the victims and the families of victims. There has been a lot of interest from up and down the country so the lessons that we learn will be applicable to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh. None of you are under oath, but we all have a duty to London and I know we will all fulfil it, not only at this hearing but the four more that we have in the future.

Can I invite us just to remind ourselves of the events and the seriousness of the day?

[Audio recording is played of a ‘999’ call on 7 July 2005, accompanied by film footage of actuality on the day].

Police: Police Emergency

Caller: Hi, um, there’s a bus just exploded outside in Tavistock Square – just outside my window.

Police: Tavistock Square?

Caller: Yeah, in London. There’s people lying on the ground and everything.

Police: Right, and it was an explosion on the bus, was it?

Caller: Yeah, there’s people lying in the road, there’s a London bus, it’s a 30, I

think? There’s people trying to get out. I think there’s ambulances on the way, but

there’s people dead and everything by the looks of it.

Police: okay… right the explosion happened a few minutes ago, yeah?

Caller: Er, about two minutes ago….

Richard Barnes (Chair): Perhaps just a few seconds of personal individual reflection might be appropriate.

[There is a pause for reflection]

Richard Barnes (Chair): Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I believe Mr (Tim) O’Toole (Managing Director, LUL) wishes to address the Committee.

Tim O’Toole (Managing Director, London Underground, Transport for London):

Thank you, Chair. Thank you very much for your kind words and what you said about everyone here. I think they were wholly appropriate and very much appreciated. Let me just introduce the other members of the Transport for London (TfL) team who are with me. Of course, Peter Hendy (Managing Director, Surface Transport) needs no introduction, since he runs just about everything other than the Underground in this

city. Due to the events we are focused on, I think one item I would like to note in introducing Peter (Hendy), is that it was Peter who got the bus service back into London and got everyone home that night: a feat that I think is not remarked on enough. It was really London Buses that saw us through, along with the national rail service, on the evening of that awful day. Paul Mylrea is our director of Media Relations. I have said to him privately, and I welcome the chance to say publicly, what a great job I think he did working with the media representatives of the police and others. They worked seamlessly; there was no infighting or bickering, they got the messages out. He had a light enough hand to allow us to take care of operations, but also firm enough to make sure we met our responsibility of briefing the public and the press. Chris Townsend is the Director of Marketing. He has under his control many of the more 21st century ways of communicating: the web pages we use, the text messaging, and the emails we are able to send as a result of our Oyster database.

I will be very brief in my remarks, because I know you have questions and I have had the opportunity before to make comments about that day, but I have to just note some points. Since this is an official hearing, I would not want them omitted. The first, of course, is that we always start with an expression of concern for those most affected: the victims that day. I think we were all struck at the memorial service the other day that this was not just some anonymous group of people to whom something bad happened, they are our passengers. These are people who rely on us for their safety and their care. We think about them every day.

I also want to express my thanks to all the TfL staff. You have very eloquently cited them, and I will not repeat all that. I appreciate it, Chair. In addition, the people in the call centres; the people who were not at the sites, but who were de-training customers by themselves at small stations. Everyone pulled together on that day. I would also especially like to thank all the emergency services. We feel we were very well served that day. We feel they put in a remarkable effort. I do think it was testimony to the drills and the London Resilience preparations that we went through. At times, there was some cynicism and smirking at the boredom of some of those long meetings, but they certainly proved worthwhile.

We have submitted to you a timeline of what took place that day, that I will just briefly note with our perceptions. I received first notice at 8.51am that there was an event on the Underground, which we thought was related to a bulk supply point that supplies our traction current power. We identified it as a power surge and put out that message, because loud bangs, explosions and the loss of power are something that we have run into before when we have lost power on the Underground. Indeed, that did happen; it is just that the ultimate cause was not understood by us at the time. I went down to our Network Operations Centre. I got there shortly after the call that came in from Edgware Road saying that they were fairly certain a train was actually involved. At that point, recognising that calls had already gone to the emergency services, I immediately called Peter Hendy, because the two of us have to be joined at the hip at moments like this, to warn him that there could be extraordinary flows coming onto his network.

We continued to get reports over those coming minutes, and as you well know, by 9.15am we decided to evacuate the entire network when it was plain to us that this was not a conventional situation, and that we had to secure the network and to check all the trains and make sure they were safe. At around 9.20am, I believe it was, we changed the message to the public that it was now a network emergency. By that time, we knew we were dealing with a crime scene and that this would come under the control of the

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). We relied on them for how the public message needed to be framed, but continued to get information to the public via the station staff, web pages and the like.

Through the day we set up regular communications. I was in constant communication with Peter (Hendy), with the Commissioner (Bob Kiley, Commissioner, TfL), with the Mayor’s Office, and indeed with the Chief of Staff (Jonathan Powell) of the Prime Minister who was at Gleneagles, giving them regular reports. Through the day, we exploited the different communication channels we have, including sending out emails and using the travel planner.

I would say that on reflection, one of the things that we have learned is that we need a much steadier, constant communication with our own workforce. We do live in an age of CNN, Sky News and BBC World News, and one thing we did not focus so much on is that our employees are sitting in mess halls watching televisions or at home deciding whether to come into work. The constant flow of messages they are being bombarded with when they are not hearing similar detail from management itself causes questions and I think it breaks down our team approach. Something we learned on 7 July and again on 21 July is that there is a need constantly to be telling our employees everything we know lest seeds of doubt are sown in their minds as to what they should do and whether they should start to take decisions for themselves.

I would like to invite the Committee to our Network Operations Centre, Centrecomm, and then I think it would be easier to understand how it is we communicate and what our tools are. You would see in our situation at the Network Operations Centre that we are cheek-by-jowl with the British Transport Police (BTP). I think that you would appreciate that as soon as reports come in to us they come to them. We are really tightly bound together in terms of the management of incidents going forward. I am very proud of the staff and what they did that day. It was an awful day, but I think the preparations that London and the Government put into dealing with such an emergency proved themselves that day. Thank you very much.

Richard Barnes (Chair): Thank you very much. Some of the issues that you mentioned, clearly we will be going into in the course of the morning.

Alan Brown (Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I would just like to add some comments on behalf of the MPS and firstly, just to introduce what my role was on that day. I was the Chair of the Strategic Co-ordinating Committee. I think it is probably the only time that the UK has put in place a Strategic Coordinating Committee. I will come back to that, if I may.

You will also see that I have brought a number of colleagues with me today. The reason for that is we are not defensive about the fact that we have come here to answer for our response; it is actually to show the complexity of all the different parts of our response, and the fact that our response covered managing the scenes, managing the investigation, managing the reassurance of the people of London and making sure that policing continued. Therefore, for a number of the questions that I have no doubt the Committee will wish to ask, I will act as a bit of a conductor and probably ask my colleagues to intervene with their areas of expertise.

The events of 7 July were unprecedented within London. The loss of life and the impact on communities was unlike any previous terrorist attacks that we had experienced. The hours that followed the bombings were filled with uncertainty; they

were filled with fear, and pain, and significant trauma for those involved in the tunnels and on the bus. Those passengers, the LUL staff, as you have already mentioned, and the emergency services staff who came to assist the injured and the dying were met with horrific scenes. I, like Tim (O’Toole), would like to say that London came together in the face of a unique attack with determination, bravery, resilience, and most importantly, the professionalism that the people of London would expect.

It is crucial to recognise the chaos that occurred following the multiple bombings. The immediate aftermath of the bombings on 7 July led to a situation where information relating to the number of dead and injured, the nature of the bombs, how they were initiated, whether there were more to follow, the motivation of the bombers, was all unclear at the time. It is within that context that the response was conducted. The need for the MPS together with its partners to help London move from chaos to certainty was paramount. How to protect London, how to get information to the public and how to get day-to-day policing responsibilities back were all very, very important to us.

The role of the police in such a catastrophic event is in many ways unique. Its primary role is the co-ordination of all the blue light services and those other agencies that are involved. However, within that, it also has its own responsibilities in securing and managing the crime scenes, assisting in the rescue of survivors, the reassurance of the communities, the retrieval and identification of those who have been tragically killed, and trying to return London to normality. Of course, all the way through that was the thought that this was a terrorist event, and an investigation that has turned into the largest investigation in the history of the MPS.

The events of 7 July presented a scenario not previously experienced in the UK. They demanded a uniquely joined-up and committed response to meet the challenges that emerged. I, like Tim (O'Toole), am rightly proud of the way that the MPS responded to that, and also the way that the other blue light services came together in what I believe was a truly unique response, in a way that London can be reassured was truly professional. Yes, there are lessons that we would learn, and there are lessons that we have already learnt, but again, I would say that our response on that day was as London would have expected it to be.

Andrew Trotter (QPM, Deputy Chief Constable, British Transport Police):

Firstly, I will introduce Peter Hilton, who is the Chief Superintendent, Operations, who was very much in command on the day when the first calls started to come in. As those calls started to come in, it emphasised to me that the experience of the exercises, training and weekends away that we have done with all the blue light services had paid off, because the more complex it became and the more difficult and challenging it became, I felt the calmer and more professional colleagues became. I would commend everyone involved in setting up those exercises and training for the fact that it has paid off so well.

The blue light services were integrated together and the response was absolutely first class. People knew their roles; they slotted into the appropriate role and got on with it. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in that. I would particularly like to congratulate the staff of LUL and Network Rail. I thought their response was excellent in very, very trying circumstances. I thought that the fact that we did not have people stuck in trains underground was extraordinary, given what had happened that day, and so we could get on with dealing with those events. Again, the staff of Network Rail

kept the system going and kept the capital moving as best they possibly could, again in very, very trying circumstances.

I certainly would say that as far as the BTP is concerned and the first response at the scenes, the fact that our headquarters is located very close to many of the scenes meant that officers were running from there straight into those tunnels, and in some very difficult circumstances indeed. We were aided and assisted by members of the public who again with great bravery went straight in and assisted, as did many members of the medical profession from the nearby hospitals, who went straight down there and helped to save lives. I think the reaction of the whole of London under great stress and great pressure was absolutely first class.

Without doubt, there are lessons to be learnt. We have been debriefing ever since with our colleague services: the City of London Police (CLP), the MPS, as well as the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and London Ambulance Service (LAS), looking at lessons that we can learn and ways we can improve. We are very keen to make sure that we do not drop our guard. This could happen at any stage in the future. We must make sure that we are ready to ensure that this does not happen again, but should anything happen again of a similar nature that we are better prepared than ever to deal with another disaster. Thank you.

Ron Dobson (Assistant Commissioner, Service Delivery, London Fire Brigade):

Thank you very much, Chair. I will be brief. I would like to echo the words of colleagues that have spoken previously. There are just a couple of points I would like to make, if I may. Firstly, the response that the emergency services, LUL, TfL and others performed on the day did not happen by accident. It came as a result of many, many hours of planning, preparation and training, and I have to say, learning from our experiences in the past. London responded in an integrated way using procedures that have been in place amongst the emergency services and others for many years. I think that the response we managed to mount on 7 July demonstrates that we are never complacent and we are always looking to learn lessons from the experiences that we have. This is no different.

We are very proud – indeed, we are very, very proud of the multi-agency response that we provided on the day, but we are in no way complacent, and the debriefing process continues as we speak. We are willing and keen to learn any lessons that do come out of that, but we are very, very proud of the response we mounted on the day.

Just a final word, if I may, about all the staff who responded, whether they come from the emergency services, from LUL, TfL or from anywhere else. Those staff responded in an absolutely fantastic way, and in line with our expectations, I have to say, because we do have good staff who are committed to protecting Londoners and I think they demonstrated that on the day. I think it should be remembered as well that there are still casualties and victims and families that are hurting and suffering even now after the events of 7 July, and also emergency responders, staff of TfL and others, who are still undergoing psychological support, welfare and counselling because of the events that happened on the day. I think actually the way things have been dealt with in the media etc so far, has been extremely positive and has helped people to deal with the horrific scenes that they saw when they entered into those tunnels on 7 July.

I would just like to echo the words of my colleagues and say that we are very, very proud of the response that we mounted, but in no way complacent, and we are very keen to learn any lessons that derive from it.
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