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What happened in London on 7 July 2005 could happen in any country, in any city, at any time. Ordinary people, going about their everyday lives, were suddenly swept up in a maelstrom of extraordinary events over which they had no control.
What is clear is that the humanitarian response to these events was astounding; from the passengers who helped and supported each other, to the underground workers, ‘blue light’ response teams, shop staff, office workers, hotel employees and passers-by who offered what help they could. The individual acts of bravery and courage are too numerous to list. Often the heroes have been reticent to come forward and have stayed silent about the role they played, known only to those that they helped. We are all in their debt; in the face of terror, they restored our faith in the strength and dignity of the human spirit.
The Committee was tasked with identifying the lessons to be learnt from the events and aftermath of 7 July 2005. It was never intended to be either a substitute public inquiry or an inquiry into the background to the bombings. Rather, our task has been to identify the successes and failings of the response to the bombings, and to help improve things for the future: to help protect and secure the lives of Londoners and of the visitors to our great city in the months and years to come. We have not become involved in “What if?” scenarios – the implications of a fifth bomb, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) attack, containment versus dispersal of potential victims. The London Resilience Forum, the appropriate governing bodies, and open public debate more properly deal with these issues. What is clear is that all the relevant statutory organisations have their emergency plans in place, as indeed do many of the large non-statutory institutions. These plans have been tested, practised against and refined. However, the thread that links them all together is that in the event they proved service-specific, meeting the needs of the services, and lacked an outward focus that took into account the needs of their client groups.
If the one achievement of the Assembly’s 7 July Review is to add an outward focus to emergency planning - to underscore the fact that responders are dealing with individuals not an ‘incident’, and that all services must work together for the public good - then we will have contributed to the protection of London, its residents and visitors.
Richard Barnes AM Chairman of the Committee
Richard Barnes AM Chairman of the Committee Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon (Conservative Party)
Sally Hamwee AM Deputy Chair of the Committee and Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Londonwide Assembly Member (Liberal Democrat Party)
Joanne McCartney AM Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey (Labour Party)
Peter Hulme Cross AM Londonwide Assembly Member (One London Party)
Darren Johnson AM Londonwide Assembly Member (Green Party)
Janet Hughes Senior Scrutiny Manager
Dale Langford Committee Administrator
Kelly Flynn Senior Media Officer
‘What happened in London on 7 July 2005 could happen at any time, in any city, in any country’
.1 On 7 July 2005, four bombs were detonated in central London. Seven people were killed on a train at Aldgate station. Seven were killed at Edgware Road. Twenty-four were killed at King’s Cross/Russell Square. Fourteen were killed on a No. 30 bus at Tavistock Square. 700 people were treated for injuries. Hundreds more suffered psychological trauma which, for many people, persists to this day and has irrevocably changed their lives.
.2 London had been warned repeatedly that an attack was inevitable: it was a question of when, not if. We were told that London had planned, prepared and practised its response. Emergency planners had worked for years to put in place effective plans to respond to a terrorist attack or other major or catastrophic incident in the capital. On 7 July 2005, these plans were put to the test comprehensively for the first time, as hundreds of people from London’s emergency, transport, health and other services worked to rescue the injured, ensure the safety of the wider public, and begin the largest criminal investigation ever conducted in London.
1.3 This report presents the findings of a review conducted by a cross-party committee of the London Assembly, the body that is elected to hold the Mayor of London to account and investigate issues of importance to London and Londoners (though clearly, as in this case, some of the issues we investigate are of national significance). The purpose of this report is to identify some of the lessons to be learnt from the response to the 7 July attacks, and to make recommendations to improve the response to any future major or catastrophic incident in London. We are interested in ensuring the fastest, most effective emergency response; in safeguarding members of the public; and in restoring order as quickly as possible. Most crucially, we are concerned to put in place systems and communications mechanisms that will facilitate the best possible response to the needs of those caught up, in whatever way, in the incidents at the time.
1.4 We have considered the issues from the point of view of a member of the public. The emergency and other services are all conducting internal technical reviews of their own responses on 7 July. Our approach has been to consider the issues from the point of view of individuals involved in the response, and those caught up in the attacks.
1.5 We have been mindful that hindsight is always twenty-twenty. On 7 July, those responsible for coordinating and delivering the emergency response were faced with a situation of extraordinary pressure, uncertainty and complexity. Some things we know now could not have been known by those making the decisions. No response to a major incident can ever be perfect, and there will always be lesson........ was particularly likely to be the case on 7 July: this was the first time that London’s emergency plans - which had been completely recast following [[the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001]] - had been put comprehensively to the test.
.6 We have sought to identify ways of minimising chaos and restoring order more quickly -
both at the scenes of the incidents and across London. However, we must be realisti....... about what can be achieved in the context of a multiple-site major incident. Assistant Commissioner Alan Brown, from the Metropolitan Police Service, was Metropolitan Police Service Gold (ie strategic) Command on 7 July. He chaired the Strategic Co ordination Committee of the emergency and other services and therefore had overall responsibility for the strategic co-ordination of the response. He explained:
‘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 wit that context that the response was conducted. The need for the MPS togeth with its partners to help London move from chaos to certainty was paramount'
.7 The 7 July attacks presented an exceptionally complex, difficult, and for those directly involved, traumatic set of circumstances. The task of establishing what had happened was in itself complicated and difficult, given the location of the first three explosions in tunnels. It took some time before the emergency and transport services were able to establish accurately what had happened and where, and how many people were involved. In the minutes following the explosions at Aldgate, King’s Cross/Russell Square and Edgware Road, there were unclear, conflicting reports from the scenes a within London Underground’s Network Control Centre: reports of loud bangs, signs o power surge on the Underground, and reports of a train derailment and a body on th track. Traumatised and injured people began appearing at Tube stations having left the train and walked back along the tracks to the nearest platform.
f a e
.8 Putting in place an emergency response to rescue and treat the injured, care for survivors, and ensure the safety of the public, was an enormously complicated and difficult undertaking. It involved hundreds of individuals at the scenes, at hospitals, and within the emergency, transport and other services. It required the co-ordination of numerous different agencies under circumstances where communications were diff uncertain. icult, when the causes of the emergency were unclear, and when future events were ns to be learnt. This 7 of 151 1.9 and ss of the response to major or catastrophic incidents. e) e big lesson for us is to invest in your staff, rely on them; invest in technology but do not rely on it’.4 us bravery unackn d membe 1.11 We hav covered considered the police investigation that followed 7 July, or the events of 21 July (when 1.12 . July e ons issues affecting the response of the emergency and other services on 7 July. 1.13 e ed o us in piecing together a picture of the response to the 7 July attacks and identifying the lessons to be learnt for the future. We are grateful to all those who gave us their views and information. The key to an effective response to a major or catastrophic incident is communication. This includes communication within and between the emergency, health, transport other services. It also includes effective communication with the individuals caught up in the incident, and the public at large. For this reason, the focus of our review has been to look at communications issues on 7 July, and to identify ways in which communications could be improved in the future to maximise the efficiency and effectivene 1.10 Undoubtedly, the emergency plans that had been put in place and exercised during the preceding months and years contributed to what was, in many respects, an outstanding response. The crucial factor in determining the success or otherwise of the response was the sum of the actions of individuals operating within (and in some cases outsid the parameters of emergency plans. Tim O’Toole, Managing Director of London Underground, captured the importance of individuals in enacting the emergency response when he spoke to the Committee on 3 November 2005. He said, ’th On 7 July there were countless individual acts of unplanned, spontaneo and compassion - many of which remain to this day unreported and owledged. Emergency and transport workers, hospital doctors and nurses, an rs of the public showed tremendous strength, initiative and courage. e not looked at intelligence issues leading up to 7 July – these have been by others and are outside the remit of the London Assembly. Nor have we there were further attempted attacks). These investigations are ongoing, and are matters for the police and the Home Office to consider. This review is not, and should not, be seen as a substitute for a statutory public inquiry A number of those who gave us their views argued for a public inquiry into the 7 attacks, to establish why they happened, consider the response to the attacks on th day, and to review the police investigation that followed. Survivors and bereaved families want answers to these questions as part of their own recovery process, and argue that the public interest is overwhelmingly served by a public interrogation of all the relevant facts and arguments. The London Assembly is not empowered to instigate or conduct a public inquiry. Our review focuses on communicati We have received views and information from London’s emergency, health and transport services, and other stakeholders and authorities including the media and local authorities. We have also had the enormous benefit of hearing testimony from peopl who survived the explosions, and from bereaved family members, who told us of their personal experiences. Their views and the information they provided have prov invaluable t 4 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, Volume 2, page 60 8 of 151 We have conducted the review entirely in public, other than some private interviews with survivors of the attacks, which were conducted in private but transcribed for the public record. In order to protect the privacy of the survivors we interviewed and th who wrote to us, we use only their first names (and in some cases, pseudonyms initials) throughout the report. All the views and information we received during course of our review are published in Volumes 2 and 3 of this repo 1.14 ose or the rt, and are available on the London Assembly website (www.london.gov.uk/assembly). 1.15 f nts. ls, 1.16 ed. In New York on 11 September 2001, many people died and few survived. The situation but d .17 We argue in this report that London’s emergency plans should be re-cast from 1.18 report there is a summary of our findings and recommendations. 1.19 l , the importance of effective communications within and between those agencies, and the crucial importance of approaching each incident from the point of view of those directly caught up in it, either as members of the public or as individuals involved in the response. There is an overarching, fundamental lesson to be learnt from the response to the 7 July attacks, which underpins most of our findings and recommendations. The response on 7 July demonstrated that there is a lack o consideration of the individuals caught up in major or catastrophic incide Procedures tend to focus too much on incidents, rather than on individua and on processes rather than people. Emergency plans tend to cater for the needs of the emergency and other responding services, rather than explicitly addressing the needs and priorities of the people involved. This is particularly evident when we consider what happened to some of those who survived the attacks, both on the day and in the weeks and months that follow on 7 July was the opposite: a relatively small proportion of victims lost their lives, there were hundreds of survivors. Because emergency plans following 9/11 are base very much on the lessons learnt from that specific incident, they tend not to consider the needs of survivors. 1 the point of view of people involved in a major or catastrophic incident, rather than focusing primarily on the point of view of each emergency service. A change of mindset is needed to bring about the necessary shift in focus, from incidents to individuals, and from processes to people. With this in mind, we have organised our report around the needs of individuals during each phase of the response, rather than around the actions of the responding authorities. Our findings appear in bold within the text. Our recommendations are shown in boxes throughout the report. At the end of the Some of the lessons to be learnt relate specifically to the response to terrorist attacks on London’s public transport network, and how we can plan an effective response to a similar incident in the future. But the public transport network is not the only potentia terrorist target, the nature of the attacks on 7 July is not the only possible form of terrorist attack, and terrorism is not the only threat facing London. All major incidents can be expected to share some generic characteristics: the involvement of numerous different agencies in the response 9 of 151 1.20 Many of our recommendations for changes to London’s emergency plans and protocols in 1.21 ll or reviews and feasibility studies to be carried out over the next six months), in November 2006 and ere has been no 1.22 to would be relevant to any major or catastrophic incident in London or in any other city the world. We have not ventured into ‘what if’ scenarios; it is for the emergency services and other authorities to draw lessons from our findings and apply our recommendations to their plans. We consider this report to be a part of an ongoing process, rather than the end. We wi be following up the recommendations we make (some of which call f May 2007. We will be asking the responsible authorities to tell us publicly what progress has been made in implementing our recommendations. If th progress we will be asking them to explain why not. We would welcome responses to this report from individuals and organisations, by 30 September 2006. We will publish the responses we receive on the London Assembly website,5 and we will consider them when we conduct our follow-up review in November 2006. 1.23 In the absence of a public inquiry, this review is the only forum in which the lessons be learnt from the response to 7 July have been discussed and debated in public. The discussions we have held in public during this review have already led to actions being taken in some areas. We hope this report will make a valuable contribution to future emergency planning in London and elsewhere. 5 www.london.gov.uk/assembly - responses to the report should be sent to email@example.com 10 of 151 The First Hour – Establishing what had happened 2 11 of 151
The first hour – establishing what had happened
- Main article: Report of the 7 July Review Committee:Chapter 2
The first hour - rescue and treatment of the injured
- Main article: Report of the 7 July Review Committee:Chapter 3
The first hour – the uninjured and walking wounded
- Main article: Report of the 7 July Review Committee:Chapter 4
The first hour – communication with the wider public
6.1 e public need basic formation about what has happened, and advice about what they should do. The to al that they are (a) volved in emergency planning, and (b) provided with accurate, up-to-date advice and 6.2 t from their point of view. They were ery clear in their perception of their public service role following a major or catastrophic incident. For example, Jim Buchanan, UK Intake Editor for the BBC, said, ‘we rapidly launch into the public service role to keep everyone informed of what is happening. We need to inform people of what they can and cannot do. That is why when Sir Ian Blair gave his statement it was given immediate prominence. There is a very important role: to help those affected to know what they should be doing’.68 6.3 Mike MacFarlane, from BBC London, explained that the local BBC radio service has a specific role in providing civil emergency broadcasting. He explained, ‘It does change the way we operate and the remit of what we do. At the point where it is clear such a situation has occurred, we change our programming immediately. Essentially, most of my colleagues on a story that size do so as well, but we have a specific responsibility to do that’.69 Pete Turner, Chair of the London Media Emergency Forum, of Gcap (which owns four London radio stations, including Capital Radio), said, ‘we have a responsibility, a tradition, a heritage and a culture to inform our listeners of anything that is going on that is relevant to their lives’.70 6.4 The importance of the media’s public service broadcasting role is reflected in the involvement of media representatives in emergency planning. This is done through national and regional Media Emergency Forums, which were established following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The value of these forums was very apparent on 7 July – a number of issues that had previously been raised in the London forum were managed effectively on 7 July as a result. For example, the plan to establish a Media Centre arose from some work done by the Media Emergency Forum. However, we do have some concerns about the extent to which media representatives Communication with the public via the media In the first hour following a major incident, members of th in overwhelming majority of people will turn to the radio, television, or internet. That is the basis for the standard advice to ‘go in, stay in, tune in’, published by the Government in its generic advice to the public on emergency preparedness. Given that the broadcast and internet media are and always will be the primary conduit of advice the public during or following a major incident, it is absolutely essenti in information to pass on to the public as soon as possible. We invited news editors from the main media outlets in the UK to a meeting on 11 January 2006 to discuss the lessons to be learn v 68 Transcript of Committee meeting, 11 January 2006, Volume 2, page 134 69 Transcript of Committee meeting, 11 January 2006, Volume 2, page 134 70 Transcript of Committee meeting, 11 January 2006, Volume 2, page 135 78 of 151 are treated as an integral part of the response to major incidents, given their importance as the key conduit for advice and information to the public. .5 Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, made a statement to us about his views on the media’s public service broadcasting role during a major or catastrophic incident: ‘I think we have to be quite careful here. The media are not a public service broadcasting operation. That is not how they work; certainly not in London or anywhere else that I am aware of’.71 .6 Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, echoed this point, stating that: ‘Although on the day I think the media did absolutely the right thing and got the message out, that is on the day, but that is the only time we are on the same side … Only on the day of the tragedy does the press stand with us; all the rest of the time they are our critics. That is the dynamic tension … There is that healthy tension’.72 7 Now, clearly there is some validity in what the Mayor and Metropolitan Police Commissioner are saying: the media will always have a role as critics of those in positions of responsibility. However, we are concerned about the apparent lack of shown by the Sir Ia eng 6.8 edia representatives have not been properly involved in planning for the response, y cannot be expected to know what to do to fulfil effectively their public service . We note that media representatives were not permitted to take part in Operation Atlantic Blue, which was a desktop exercise involving the UK and the US in testing an emergency scenario. We also note that at the conference that was held at the Guildhall in September 2005 to review the lessons learned from the response to 7 July, speakers repeatedly referred to the need to work effectively with the media, but there were no speakers representing the media, and no media representatives apparently invited to attend the conference to listen and engage in the debate. 6.9 Clearly, there is a balance to be struck when engaging with the media, and it is important to clarify the basis for any engagement in emergency planning. But there is a clear public interest to be served by involving the media as fully as possible in emergency planning processes and exercises. 6 6 6. trust n Blair and Ken Livingstone, because this could result in a failure to age effectively with the media during emergency planning exercises and in the event of a major incident. If m the role 71 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 March 2006, Volume 2, page 158 72 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 March 2006, Volume 2, page 159 79 of 151 Recommendation 34 We recommend that future resilience exercises include senior representatives from the media as participants rather than simply as observers. The authorities should communicate in two ways with the media during the first halfhour following a major incident. a. accurate and timely advisory messages to pass on to the public; and b. credible factual information about what has happened and what is being done in response. Advisory messages 6.10 11 At 11.15 am, Sir Ian Blair gave a news conference. At this point, the first message of cast to ier. The 6.12 collect sufficient accurate information on which to base a public announcement. We do 6.13 ‘There are three key roles for police commanders in this matter. First, of course, is the an t all 6.14 major incident, and quite rightly so. Sir Ian told the Committee that, ‘frankly, even the 6. advice was communicated: ‘Go in, stay in, tune in’. The news conference was broad live on most media channels, including internet news sites. News editors commented us that they believed the advice could and should have been transmitted earl guidance issued under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 suggests that advice should be given within an hour of an incident.73 We put this point to Sir Ian Blair. His response was that it would be unreasonable to expect the police to issue advice within two hours of an incident, given the need to not agree with Sir Ian’s assessment. It was known by 9.15 am that there had been explosions on the Tube, and the decision was taken at that point to evacuate the entire Underground network. It is to be expected that within this time period the Police will not be in a position to release detailed information about the incidents. However, the Committee can see no reason why it should have taken a further two hours before the Police were ready to issue the generic advice to ‘go in, stay in, tune in’. The Commissioner’s role in a major incident was explained to us by Sir Ian Blair. investigator, which was the role performed by Assistant Commissioner Andy Haym and his team; the ‘Gold’ for the incident… was performed by Assistant Commissioner Alan Brown; and then there is the running of the rest of London, because while the incident is happening other things are going on in London. Consequently, the role of the Commissioner it seems to me, and it seemed to me at the time, was to ensure tha three of those functions were being enabled to be properly carried out’.74 Sir Ian went on to explain to us that these priorities are his foremost concerns during a 73 Non-Statutory Guidance to the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 74 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 March 2006, Volume 2, page 149 80 of 151 media announcement is secondary to that piece of process that needs to be done’.75 Given that the Commissioner must fulfill this important role of overseeing the entire service, we do not believe it is necessary for him to act as the spokesperson for the .15 One of the unintended consequences of Sir Ian Blair’s decision to act as spokesperson at the 1 ws with les t later in onvey a new message through a less senior officer, that it was now safe for people in London to travel home. We discuss this 6.16 A seni respon public Credible factual information 6.17 politan rate, or is incomplete or out of date, will lack credibility. News editors told us that on 7 July the credibility of official information came increasingly 6.18 ith g there had been a ‘huge explosion’. By 9.05 am, the Evening Standard had been contacted by ‘a trusted union .19 The first official information came out in the form of a police statement at 9.25am, stating that there had been an incident at Aldgate. The message had already gone out that there had been ‘power surges’ on the Underground. Several brief factual updates followed during the next hour, but it was not until the explosion on the bus at Tavistock Service as well. 6 1.15 am news conference was that subsequent news conferences and intervie s senior officers were not seen to supersede Sir Ian’s advice. This had an impac the day on the ability of the police to c further in Section 8. or Metropolitan Police Service officer should take the primary sibility of providing accurate, timely advice and information to the throughout the day. In communicating information to the media, from the point of view of the Metro Police Service, it is important that the information is accurate. This inevitably results in a delay between the media obtaining information and it being confirmed or denied by the police. In such circumstances, there is a danger that official information that has clearly become inaccu into question during the first two hours following the explosions. We also received comments from members of the public who shared this view. News editors told us that their organisations had been aware of the explosions on the Underground within minutes of them taking place. David Taylor, Executive Editor of the Evening Standard, told us that the Evening Standard’s Transport Editor had received a call about the Aldgate incident approximately 90 seconds after the explosion, from a contact who had been on the train in front of the affected train. A further contact, w offices above Aldgate station, called shortly afterwards sayin source who was telling us that people on the ground were saying there had been three explosions on the network’.76 By 9.30 am, the Evening Standard had heard from eyewitnesses who had seen bodies on the line at Aldgate. 6 3 75 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 March 2006, Volume 2, page 156 76 Transcript of Committee meeting, 11 January 2006, Volume 2, page 13 81 of 151 Square that the initial information about possible power surges was finally discredited, as changed to reflect what had actually happened. 6.20 the MPS issued statement that there had been explosions at multiple locations across London, but the cause of the explosions was still not confirmed at that stage. 6.21 n inevitably arises between the desire of the he announcements. When this balance does not work it results in a loss of credibility on the part of the emergency services, who begin to be seen as ive. On 7 July, in the first two hours following the explosions on the Tube, there was a clear gap between what was known by the and the official ‘line’ w When the explosion happened on the bus at Tavistock Square, it became immediately apparent that the explosions had been caused by bombs. At 10.12 am, a In a major emergency, a tensio media to obtain information as quickly as possible and the need for t emergency services to establish all the facts before making public unnecessarily secret media and what the Police were prepared to confirm publicly. Recommendations 35 and 36 We recommend that the Metropolitan Police Service, in consultation with the London Media Emergency Forum, revise its plans to provide basic advice, as opposed to detailed information, for the public within an hour of a major incident if at all possible. We recommend that in the event of major incident in London, the Metropolitan Police Service should appoint a senior officer, with appropriate skills, to act as the police spokesperson throughout the day. That person’s primary responsibility would be to communicate with the public, via the media, to pass on accurate and timely advice and information. 6.22 - ration of London. They provide a pager alert system, support a conference call facility, and replicated and developed elsewhere in London by local authorities working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service. For example, Westminster has implemented an e-mail alert system. In the wake of 7 July, Camden is considering establishing a similar system, though it is generally acknowledged that most people will seek information from the radio and television news or news websites. Communications at a local level in the first hour after the explosions Local authorities are responsible under the Civil Contingencies Act arrangements for communicating with local communities and businesses. Some local authorities in London, in collaboration with the relevant police service, have set up pager and / or e mail alert systems for local businesses, communities and residents. The most advanced of these is the initiative run jointly by the City of London Police and Corpo facilitate ‘buddying’ schemes whereby larger businesses support smaller local businesses and communicate information to them. Some elements of this initiative are now being 82 of 151 The rest of the day – people searching for missing friends and family 7 83 of 151
The rest of the day - people searching for missing friends and family
Members of the public who were unable to track down their friend, family member or colleague needed access to a telephone line where they could register the person as missing and potentially involved, and try to find out whether th in the incidents. The telephone line that was set up was the Metropolitan Police Service Casualty Bureau. The MPS views the Casualty Bureau as the first stage in the criminal investigation and formal identification process. The official purpose of the Bureau is to collect and categorise details of people who may have been involved in the incident, and to ma this up with details collected at the sites. The 7 July Casualty Bureau was not conceived as a mechanism for providing worried members of the public with information as to the whereabouts of their loved ones. 7.3 The decision to establish a casualty bureau was taken at 9.30 am. The Metropolitan olice’s service level agreement with Cable & Wireless stipulates that the bureau should rs, which would have resulted in the lines opening at 1.30 m. Unfortunately, the establishment of the Casualty Bureau was delayed by an d hether or not their loved ones had been caught up in the ttacks. People searching for their friends, relatives and colleagues spent hours trying ss/Russell t 7.4 h cost approximately 10p er minute. We have been told that this will not happen again, and that the number for the Casualty Bureau will in future be a free phone number. We understand that the ade on 7 July were subsequently donated to charity – a welcome ial public service emergency telephone number. 7.5 reau thin e K under in a Members of the public who were unable to track down their friend, family member or colleague needed access to a telephone line where they could register the person as missing and potentially involved, and try to find out whether th in the incidents. The telephone line that was set up was the Metropolitan Police Service Casualty Bureau. The MPS views the Casualty Bureau as the first stage in the criminal investigation and formal identification process. The official purpose of the Bureau is to collect and categorise details of people who may have been involved in the incident, and to ma this up with details collected at the sites. The 7 July Casualty Bureau was not conceived as a mechanism for providing worried members of the public with information as to the whereabouts of their loved ones. 7 P be operational within four hou p incorrect connection at the switchboard at New Scotland Yard. It was not operational until after 4.00 pm. By this point, worried friends and relatives had been trying to get through for several hours without success, causing them a great deal of distress an delaying them in finding out w a to get through. Joe, whose wife Gill was severely injured in the King’s Cro Square explosion, spent three hours dialling the number. Eventually Gill’s colleague go through, having spent three hours with her telephone on automatic redial. The number given out was a national rate ‘0870’ number, whic p profits m acknowledgement that it is not appropriate to charge people to call an essent When it became operational, there were 42,000 attempted calls to the Casualty Bu in the first hour. Each call lasted between seven and twelve minutes. We understand that, to handle the volume of calls that were received, 2,500 call-takers would be required. It is obviously not possible to put in place a Casualty Bureau of that size wi hours of the onset of an incident. There will always be capacity issues. However, w have been given reassurances that the new ‘Casweb’ technology being introduced by the MPS will significantly increase the capacity of any future Casualty Bureau to answer large volumes of calls. It will enable calls to be diverted to other forces in the U ‘call-off’ arrangements, and will provide for the information gathered to be stored shared database. 84 of 151 7.6 Other members of the public will want information about what has happened, advice as to what to do, and practical information, for example about public transport. In the absence of a public information line, people may call the Casualty Bureau to make such enquiries, as happened following the Tsunami in December 2004.77 This clogs up the lines making it more difficult for those concerned about their loved ones to get through. Given that we know from experience that members of the public will call the Casualty Bureau for information and advice, rather than to report missing persons, it is worth considering how to manage this demand, rather than simply hoping it will not happen or accepting it as an inevitable inconvenience. Part of the answer lies in increasing the capacity of the Casualty Bureau to receive calls. There is also a public education and awareness issue. Was it sufficiently clear to members of the public that the purpose of the Casualty Bureau was only to receive names and details of people potentially caught up in the attack? Are there ways in which the public demand for information and advice could be met other than through the Casualty Bureau, such as via a website or another telephone line? .7 Three factors might have contributed to a large volume of calls from people seeking information and advice rather than reporting missing persons. First, the messages being put out through the media during the day tended to focus on the incidents themselves, rather than practical advice for pe in’ w 3 that the bus service was being reins v the public that London would be re w this meant and without at the same time cancelling out the ‘go in, stay in, tune in’ message. Secondly, there may have been a lack of clarity in the communication to the public of the purpose of the Casualty Bureau. Thirdly, there was no alternative telephone line for general enquiries. This is suggested in the statutory guidance on the Civil Contingencies Act; 7 July demonstrated its potential value. The Casualty Bureau was set up too slowly because of an avoidable error. This caused distress to many people who were trying to track down their loved ones and unable to get through on the published telephone number. We trust that the lessons have been learnt and this will not happen again. 7.9 The volume of calls received by the Casualty Bureau could never be handled within the Metropolitan Police Service. New technology is being put in place that will enable calls to be redirected to Casualty Bureaux outside London, and we understand that the Metropolitan Police is working with the Home Office to identify other ways to manage the initial large volumes of calls to a Casualty Bureau. 7.10 The Casualty Bureau should not have been a profit-making venture for any telephone company. However, we recognize that this lesson has already been learnt, and the profits made from the ‘0870’ (national rate) telephone number donated to charity. 7 ople in London. The message to ‘go in, stay in, tune as played continuously throughout the day, even after the announcement at tated. There were contradictory messages, ad turning to business as usual, without defining pm ising hat 7.8 77 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, page 35, Volume 2, page 37 85 of 151 7.11 More could be done to manage the volume of attempted calls to the Casualty Bureau. For example, there could be more effective communication with the result in a reduced number of calls requesting general information rather than public via the media about the purpose of the Casualty Bureau. This might reporting missing people. It may be desirable in some circumstances to set up an alternative general public information line to meet the demand for information and advice. Recommendations 37 to 40 We request that the Metropolitan Police Service provide us with an update on the implementation of the new ‘Casweb’ Casualty Bureau technology, and any other measures that might be identified to manage the initial high volume of calls to a Casualty Bureau, in time for our follow-up review in November 2006. We recommend that the Metropolitan Police Service: a. review the technical protocols for establishing a Casualty Bureau to ensure that errors and technical problems do not delay the establishment of a Casualty Bureau in the future. b. ensure the use of a free-phone number for any future Casualty Bureau that may be set up. c. prepare standard public information about a Casualty Bureau, to include instructions as to its purpose and information about sources of advice and information for people who do not need to report missing persons. We request that the Metropolitan Police Service report back to us on progress against these recommendations, in time for our follow-up review in November 2006. We recommend that the London Resilience Forum develop plans to establish a public information line as well as a Casualty Bureau in the event of a major incident. The plans should provide for the information line to be integrated with the Casualty Bureau and any support services that are set up in the immediate aftermath of an incident, so that callers can be transferred on to an information or support service having called the Casualty Bureau. 86 of 151
The rest of the day – Communications with the public
87 of 151 The rest of the day – communications with the pu Sir Ian Blair’s news conference at 11.15 am, when it was confirmed that there had been explosions at multiple sites across London and people in London were advised t stay in, tune in’, was replayed blic 8.1 o ‘go in, constantly on the television news for much of the rest of the day. The advice continued to be replayed long after it had become out of date. The impact of this was that, later in the day, people in central London waiting to go home did not know when it was safe to do so. 8.2 We received conflicting explanations of why this happened. The Mayor placed resp sug n the told in, stay e. As we have already noted, because Sir Ian Blair gave the news conference himself at 11.15 am, subsequent interviews with less senior officers were not see 8.3 The a for som ecessary confus Rec onsibility for time-limiting advisory messages at the door of the media. He gested that we should recommend to the media that they should ‘make clear, whe y are using old footage, that that is what it is’.78 News editors, on the other hand, us that they had not received any advice as to the time-limited nature of the ‘go in, tune in’ messag n to supersede that news conference. message to ‘go in, stay in, tune in’ was replayed on the broadcast medi e time after it should have been withdrawn. This led to unn ion. ommendations 41 and 42 We recommend that the MPS establish a process whereby advisory messages are explicitly time-limited, and updated on an hourly basis, even if there is no change in the basic advice. We recommend that the Metropolitan Police Service liaise with the Media Emergency Forum to establish a protocol for communicating publicly the timelimited nature of news statements during the response to a major incident. Arr 8.4 It w n in sch round the city. The question of what advice to give to schools was raised by Local Authority Gold, David Wechsler (Chief Executive of Croydon Council), at the first Gold Coordinating Group meeting, at New Scotland Yard at 10.30 am. At that meeting, it was decided that advice should be communicated to schools to ensure that arrangements would be in place to look after children until their parents were able to collect them. angements for taking care of children in schools as not clear to people in London what the arrangements would be for childre ools, whose parents were stuck in central London and being told not to move a 78 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 March 2006, Volume 2, page 156 88 of 151 The MPS issued a statement at 1 pm stating that schools and Local Education Authorities would make sure that children were safe until collected from school. Perhaps because this advice came quite late in the school day, some schools made their own decisions and arrangements for taking care of children. Some schools apparently closed early and sent children home, causing a great deal of anguish for their parents, who were still being advised to remain at work. News editors told us that they did not receive advice to pass on to the public about arrangements for taking care of children in schools after the end of the school day. .5 David Wechsler attended the Strategic Co-ordination Centre on behalf of London local authorities. David Wechsler suggested that overall, the problem of caring for schoolchildren in a major emergency was not widespread, but he acknowledged the need for consistency across London and a clear message to parents advising them of what arrangements would be in place to take care of their children. If this message was communicated to the media on 7 July, it was either too late or not communicated by the right person in the right way. 6 On the afternoon of 7 July, the public received conflicting messages advising them what to do in London on 8 July. On the one hand, Sir Ian Blair’s message was still being played. On the other, politi wou employers to advise their employees about whether or not to c id July. It also led to inconsistency across London about whethe tminster, schools were closed on 8 July, whereas in Camden, in the fac nflicting messages, the decision was taken to open schools. hdrawal and reinstatement of the bus service in central London 8.7 decision to withdraw the bus service in central London was taken just after 10 am entrecom, the bus service control centre. There were two reasons for this decision: police were unable to give assurances at that stage about the safety of passengers; it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the service around the road ures and mounting congestion in central London. 8.8 As early as 11.30 am, Transport for London officers began to consider the question of whether and when to reinstate the bus service. Transport for London was keen to do this as soon as possible, not least because it would take some time for the service to be up and running again, and it was rightly considered important to do this in time for the evening rush hour. On the other hand, there were obviously concerns about whether there would be more bombs detonated later in the day, and whether it would therefore be safe to reinstate the bus service. Over the following three hours, there were discussions between Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service, which finally resulted in a decision being taken shortly before 3 pm to reinstate the bus service. We have heard anecdotal reports that there was also discussion with the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA – the emergency Cabinet committee that is convened in the event of a major or catastrophic incident). By 5 pm, most of central London’s bus service was up and running again. 8.9 It may be the case that a decision could have been taken earlier in the day to reinstate the service. But we think it is right that there should be careful and detailed discussions 8 8. cians, including the Mayor, were insisting that London ld return to ‘business as usual’ as soon as possible. This made it difficult for ome to work on Fr r schools were open ay 8 on 8 July. In Wes e of co Wit The at C the and clos 89 of 151 about such a decision, to ensure the safety of the public and Transport for London staff, as well as ensuring that there was public transport available to take people home from work in the ve of operation. Given what was known at the time, and the focus that was necessarily 8.10 al olitical, level, on the ondon. drawal ephones 8.11 have already discussed the impact on the s leaving the scenes were unable to contact their friends r their loved ones could not get through to them. 8.12 clude call gapping, whereby attempted calls are handled ne e commercially viable to provide sufficient capacity on telephone networks to cater for the extraordinary peaks in volume of calls experienced on 7 July. .13 companies was the need for processes for managing sudden increases in traffic. Previously, their joint emergency in alised 8.14 It is tempting to think that some technical fix must be possible to prevent the telephone networks from becoming overloaded following another major or catastrophic incident in the future. Such a fix may exist; but it would be unrealistic to suggest that telephone operating companies should make the enormous financial investment that would be e ning, especially given that the Underground network was still out being given to the emergency response to the attacks, we doubt it would be reasonable to expect an earlier decision or a more efficient withdrawal and reinstatement of the bus service. The decision to withdraw and subsequently reinstate the bus service in centr London was difficult and based on potentially competing priorities. The decision must be taken at an operational, rather than p basis of reaching a decision that will best serve the safety of people in L We are satisfied that the right decisions were taken on 7 July. The with and reinstatement of the bus service in London was an enormously complicated and challenging undertaking. That the network was back in operation by 5 pm is a remarkable achievement, and one for which Transport for London staff deserve congratulations. Advice to the public about use of mobile tel On 7 July, all the mobile telephone networks in London suffered network congestion due to a huge upsurge in volume of calls. The problems caused by telephone network congestion were felt all over London. We emergency response. Survivor and family. People worried fo Businesses could not communicate with their employees. The networks implemented various technical fixes to prevent their networks from collapsing completely. These in in a way that ensures that at least some calls get through. Only so much can be do from a technical point of view, within the bounds of commercial viability, to plan for and manage such a dramatic increase in traffic. Telephone networks are not designed to enable everyone in London to make calls at the same time. It is simply not likely to b 8 One of the key lessons learned for the telephone operating planning efforts had tended to focus on how they would maintain business continuity the event of damage to ‘critical infrastructure’. As a result, on 7 July, their joint working procedures did not kick into action immediately; given the lack of damage to their infrastructure, they assumed that they would have no problems. More form processes are now in place to ensure a proactive response in the event of a major incident, regardless of whether it directly affects telephone network infrastructure. 90 of 151 required to allow for such extraordinary peaks of traffic. However, the demand better managed to mitigate the problem. We asked the mobile phone network operators whether they had considered contacting their customers directly to advise them to restrict their telephone use. Vodafone’s Hea of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance, Michael Strefford, told us that Vodafone had placed a message on its website advising customers to keep their telephone conversations as short as possible. could be 8.15 d nscious decision was taken not to try to communicate with customers via text messages, because that would have entailed 8.16 tely these messages were not relayed during the day on the radio or television news. This is understandable, given the mass of information in ld 8.17 public, and the prominence which tends to be given to their messages, the police are well onpolicing issues, such as advice on the use of mobile telephones and advice 8.18 t had no actual evidence to suggest that this would be the case. On the contrary, the London Ambulance Service’s request 8.19 friends nd 79 A co sending a text to all customers in the UK, which would have added further congestion to the network.80 The mobile telephone operating companies attempted to put out messages to the public through the media on 7 July asking customers to limit their use of mobile telephones, and use text messages rather than phone calls (text messages take up less space on the network). Unfortuna that was being presented to the media from various sources. It is inevitable that the highest profile and most authoritative spokesperson will be given the highest profile the media. There is an argument to say that the highest profile spokesperson shou give out a range of important advisory messages at available opportunities. The Metropolitan Police Service is the lead agency for communicating with the media. As a result, its messages tend to focus on police-related issues. Given their lead role in communicating with the media and the placed to communicate authoritative messages to the public about n about schools. Andy Trotter, Deputy Commissioner of the British Transport Police, doubted that the public would have heeded advice to reduce their use of mobile telephones even if i been given a higher profile in the media. We have seen that the public restrict 999 calls to emergencies resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in the numbers of calls compared to any other weekday in London. We have also heard about numerous examples of Londoners helping in whatever way they could on 7 July. What is certain is that if the advice is not given, it will not be followed. It is inevitable that, in the event of a major incident in London, the use of mobile phones will massively increase, as people try to track down their and family. This surge can be managed to some extent by the telephone operating companies using technical fixes, as was done on 7 July. Dema could also be managed by asking the public to restrict their use of mobile 79 Transc 80 Transcript of Committee meeting, 1 December 2005, Volume 2, page 87 ript of Committee meeting, 1 December 2005, Volume 2, page 71 91 of 151 telephones. This was not effectively done on 7 July – telephone operating companies attempted to get their message across via the media, but their voices were lost in the mass of communications that were taking place on the day. Important messages to the public such as this might be more effectively passed on via established authoritative spokespeople such as the Metropolitan Police. Recommendation 43 We recommend MPS news statements include key pieces of advice and information relating to broader issues, including advice on the use of mobile phones in the event of network congestion. We recommend that the Metropolitan Police Service, in consultation with resilience partners, develop a standard list of issues to be covered in early news conferences in the event of a major incident. We request that the Metropolitan Police Service report back to us in November 2006 to tell us what action has been taken towards this end. Facilities for the media on 7 July 8.20 t ell from the point of view of geographical location and some of the facilities available at the centre. Media es at 8.21 ve. 22 Some news editors commented that it would have been useful had the centre been up t 8.23 , re unsuitable for the purposes of the media. Oliver Wright, from the Times, commented A media centre was set up at the QEII Conference Centre. The decision was taken to se up a media centre at the first Gold Co-ordinating Group meeting, at 10.30 am. The centre opened at 1.30 pm. The emergency services found the centre convenient and considered it to have been a great success. News editors were positive about the Centre, once it was up and running. The location worked w representatives found it useful to have access to spokespeople from the key servic one location. Overall, the feedback from the media about the facilities at the QEII centre was positi However, there are some lessons to be learnt. One news editor suggested that it would have been useful had there been a permanent police public affairs presence at the centre. 8. and running earlier in the day – the first despatch from there by ITN, for example, was not made until 3.30 pm. Until that point, journalists and TV and radio crews were reporting direct from the scenes, and from receiving hospitals. Dick Fedorcio, Director of Public Affairs for the Metropolitan Police Service, suggested that this was ‘a bi unfair’. Other criticisms of the centre focused on the technical facilities that were on offer some of which were not functioning properly during the day, and some of which we that from the print media point of view, it would have been useful to have had the centre open into the evening rather than closing at 6pm. Ben Taylor, from the Daily Mail, wrote to give his views on the facilities provided at the Media Centre. 92 of 151 ‘From the media’s point of view, there was some frustration in the facilities provided at the QEII centre. While they were initially impressive – telephones and coffee were provided – they were often withdrawn at odd moments without ity me you either have a facility there or you don’t. If you do, it has to be run like a proper press room – ie with easy access and good phone links with 8.24 any notice. QE staff were often unaware of our requirements or unhelpful. Phones would mysteriously stop working and equipment, including reporters’ laptops, were collected and taken away for “security reasons” even though they had already been scanned etc. After several days, they were withdrawn altogether which was probably fair enough because the initial flurry of activ had slowed. It seems to straightforward internet connections’.81 The fact that plans were in place to establish a media centre was the result of work done by the Media Emergency Forum following 11 September 2001. The success of the QEII centre shows the value of involving the media in emergency planning. However, there are lessons to be learnt. Recommendation 44 We recommend that the Metropolitan Police Service, in consultation with the London Media Emergency Forum, produce a guidance document on the establishment and running of an effective media centre that meets the needs of the media, building on the lessons to be learnt from their experience on 7 July. 8.25 d .26 When a major incident occurs, businesses are looking for information, from whatever jor Communications with businesses Like everyone else, employers’ main source of information was the radio, TV and internet news. This is particularly the case in relation to small and medium sized enterprises, who are unlikely to have elaborate business continuity plans in place or be plugged in to e-mail or pager alerting systems. Businesses need further information an advice in relation to business continuity and the welfare of their staff. 8 source. Under the Civil Contingencies Act, local authorities are responsible for communications with businesses. In reality, of course, life is not that simple. A multitude of organisations advise businesses about continuity in the event of a ma incident in London. Local authorities and the police run a variety of local alerting systems (pager, e-mail and, in the City, a conference call facility). 81 Written submission from Ben Taylor, Daily Mail, Volume 3, page 271 93 of 151 8.27 e 8.28 for a more co-ordinated and consistent mechanism for communicating with businesses is acknowledged, and we understand the London Resilience Forum is orking on the development of a solution. Local authorities are waiting to see the before deciding whether to invest in it. 8.29 across ystems, ‘buddying’ schemes and possibly conference call facilities, such as are in place in the City of London and some London boroughs. Some elements of the City of London Police’s initiatives to communicate with businesses could be applied elsewhere in London. Indeed, some local authorities ar working with the Metropolitan Police Service to put in place similar alerting systems and training/awareness-raising initiatives. The need w outcome of this work There is a risk that, unless a standard package is developed soon, local authorities will continue to develop their own individual systems for communicating with local businesses. This will result in inconsistency London, and an inability for the systems to be used in a co-ordinated way in the event of a major incident. There is an opportunity for the London Resilience Forum to take the lead in developing a standard communications package for use by local authorities, including the internet, pager alerting s Recommendation 45 We recommend that the London Resilience Forum work with local authorities and business organisations to produce a standard communications package to facilitate effective communications between local authorities and businesses. We request that the London Resilience Forum provide us with an update on progress by November 2006. Other channels of communication with the public – official websites 8.30 On 7 July, official websites, especially Transport for London and Metropolitan Police Service, experienced a huge upsurge in the numbers of people logging on to their sites. re Transport for London recorded 600,000 visitors compared to the usual number of around 100,000.82 Transport for London sent out more than 600,000 e-mails on 7 July between 3 pm and 5 pm to people registered on its e-mail alerting system, and mo than 50 per cent of these were opened within an hour.83 The Metropolitan Police Service updated its website 27 times during the day, and received 1.5 million ‘hits’. 82 83 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, Volume 2, page 27 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2006, Volume 2, page 58 94 of 151 8.31 This exc demons We wo London despite cy services the Lon pected on a no eptional volume of visitors to Transport for London and MPS websites trates the degree of public reliance on the internet as a source of information. uld like to record the remarkable achievement by both Transport for and the Metropolitan Police Service in maintaining their systems the peaks in the numbers of visitors to their websites. Other emergen also experienced increased numbers of visitors to their websites. For example, don Ambulance service had four times as many visitors than would be ex rmal working day. 95 of 151 96 of 151 The following week - bereaved people and friends and family of survivors 9 97 of 151
The following week- bereaved people and friends and family of survivors
.1 It took ten days for all those who were killed on 7 July to be formally identified by the police. The identification process was managed at the Resilience Mortuary, which was set up at the Honourable Artillery Company in the City of Westminster. This venue – a private company - was identified only after the originally intended location had been found to be unsuitable because it was a military base which might have been needed in the event of a need for a military contribution to the response. We understand that the Honourable Artillery Company had not been approached prior to 7 July to develop contingency plans and agree costs. The cost of using the venue was £3 million by January 2006.84 9.2 We understand that a review is now taking place to identify a number of alternative sites across London for any Resilience Mortuary that may need to be established. Once these potential sites have been identified, preparatory discussions will take place between local authorities, the London Resilience Team, and the venues, so that plans can be put in place in advance rather than having to draw up a contract and agree costs at short notice. 9.3 This was the first time a Resilience Mortuary had been set up in the UK.85 The Mass Fatalities Plan had only been completed a few weeks before 7 July. Given these facts, the establishment of the Mortuary by 10 pm on 8 July was a remarkable achievement. The correct identification of the deceased was a highly complex and sensitive task, and this was completed within 7 days. 9.4 During that 7 days, those who were waiting for news of their loved ones needed first of all to register them as potentially involved. The Casualty Bureau is the first port of call for members of the public wishing to register someone as potentially involved in the incident. However, it is not their only port of call, and it cannot and does not meet all their needs. 9.5 Families and friends need a reception centre to provide a central contact point, when hospitals and other authorities identify survivors. Such a centre could also provide facilities and practical support. Rick Turner of the Metropolitan Police Service himself acknowledged this need. 86 Currently, worried friends and relatives will gravitate towards receiving hospitals, either by phone or in person. 9.6 This reception centre can also help families and loved ones from outside London. As they arrive, their main requirement is information about the whereabouts and welfare of 9 84 Transcript of Committee meeting, 11 January 2006, Volume 2, page 122 85 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, Volume 2, page 49 86 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2006, Volume 2, page 54 98 of 151 their friend or family member. However, they also need practical support and assistance, for instance in finding somewhere to stay. .7 The Family Assistance Centre that was set up in the days following 7 July evolved into a service that would have met these needs. However, in the first few days following 7 July, it is fair to say that it was not designed to meet these needs. The decision to set up a Family Assistance Centre was taken at 9 pm on 8 July. With excellent co-operation from the private and voluntary sectors Westminster Council, the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Resilience Team managed to open the centre by 2 pm on Saturday 9 July. .8 This was the first time a Family Assistance Centre had been set up following a major incident in the UK. Plans were still in draft, and those responsible for setting up the Centre were therefore working practically from scratch to set up the facility. There are some key lessons to be learnt from the experience of establishing the Family Assistance Centre. 9 The primary function of the Centre in the first few days was to act as a face-to-face d , in the identification process.87 This met t conducting their investigation and identification process. Counsellors were a from voluntary organisations; but broadly speaking it is fair to say that the Centre in the early days was not geared up to provide for the practical and other needs of survivors or people searching for their loved ones. In particular, the Centre was not prepared to give out information, only to collect it. People searching for their loved ones have one primary need: information. They may also have practical needs, but their main concern is to find out the whereabouts of their loved one. They may not need bereavement counselling in the first few days – the need for information is paramount. 9.10 Some survivors were put off contacting the Family Assistance Centre because its name led them to believe that it was for bereaved people rather than survivors. We discuss this further in Section 10. 9.11 Given the absence of prepared plans, the establishment of the Family Assistance Centre in the days following 7 July was quite an achievement in itself. But there are lessons to be learnt about the provision of reception facilities for people looking for missing loved ones on 7 July, and providing effective sources of information and support in the first few days. 9 9 9. extension of the Casualty Bureau. Its focus was on gathering information: pe forensic details of people who were potentially injured or killed in the attacks he needs of the Metropolitan Police rsonal an to assist Service in vailable 87 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, page 53 99 of 151 Recommendation 46 We recommend that the London Resilience Forum review its emergency plans to ensure that they include provision for the establishment of a reception centre for people looking for missing loved ones following a major incident. This should provide for their basic needs, including up-to-date information on progress in locating missing people, and practical assistance, such as help in finding accommodation if necessary. We believe that this function could be fulfilled by the Family Assistance Centre – its role should be expanded and developed to include explicitly these roles as well as its police evidencegathering role. 100 of 151
The Following Weeks - support for survivors 10
101 of 151 The following weeks - support for survivors 10.1 ing rs . protection from unwanted media intrusion (this applies especially to people in hospital or those who are interviewed or photographed by the media during or immediately following the incident); b. contact with other survivors from the same incident; c. support for psychological trauma; d. advice on sources of financial assistance; e. advice on long-term health risks arising from the incident, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, or respiratory conditions that may arise from inhalation of smoke or noxious substances; f. legal and administrative advice and support. 10.2 The foundation stone for all this advice and support is the collection of contact details of survivors at the scene of the incident, and the effective management and sharing of those details among the relevant authorities. And, for those whose details have not been collected, the authorities must make efforts to contact them via the media, internet, and other channels to make them aware of the support that is available. On both these counts, the support to survivors following 7 July was patchy and in some cases non-existent. Collection and management of contact details of survivors 10.3 As we have already discussed, there was a failure to collect the details of survivors on 7 July. There was also a systems failure in the management of those details that were collected on 7 July and afterwards. As a result, people dropped out of the support and advice network, or were not captured by it in the first place. 10.4 The details of some survivors were not lost; these survivors have been kept informed. George, for example, survived the Russell Square explosion. His details were taken by someone at Russell Square station on 7 July. He was subsequently contacted by the police, who then suggested he contact the 7 July Assistance Centre, which he did. He said, ‘I can’t speak too highly of the 7 July Assistance Centre … I can only speak from my own experience, and it has been very positive, and continues to be so’. Survivors of the 7 July attacks told us of their needs in the weeks and months follow 7 July. Some of these needs are common between those who were severely injured and those who were less seriously physically injured but suffering from psychological trauma. Others are specific to particular groups of survivors, because they were at the same site, or suffered similar injuries, or were at the same hospital. In general, survivo may need some or all of the following categories of advice, assistance or support, beyond the obvious need for medical treatment of their physical injuries: a 102 of 151 10.5 In general, those who were hospitalised seem to have had more chance of their details being kept and of being contacted subsequently by official bodies offering support and advice. For example, Carol, who was severely injured in the King’s Cross/Russell Square train, said, ‘I couldn’t fail to be in the system – I was already there. The Family Assistance Centre have always kept in touch with me. They always write to me and invite me to their meetings every month’. 0.6 We have heard of several examples of people who registered their details with one authority or another either on or after 7 July, but never heard from anyone official again. For example, Kirsty, who was in the sixth carriage of the King’s Cross/Russell Square train, told us that after giving her details to a police officer at King’s Cross station, ‘I never heard anything from anybody. I was not contacted by anybody, despite having given this officer my phone number and all my details’.88 0.7 Rachel, who survived the King’s Cross/Russell Square explosion, made her own way to hospital, in a cab, whereupon her details were taken. Rachel told us that she had subsequently given her details to official bodies on at least 12 occasions, but that she had still not received any official contact or information in the weeks and months following 7 July, other than to give her police statement. 10.8 t Family Assistance Centre closed down and was then effectively re-opened as Assistance Centre. ‘Due to having mucked up some data protection issues in the original set-up, they could not contact anyone who had met them as the Family Assistance Centre, because the database and the list of names were literally lost; they could not be transferred over’.89 9 M, who was on the bus in front of the bombed Number 30 bus at Tavistock Square, told a similar story. He went to the Family Assistance Centre on the day it closed (it reopened as the 7 July Assistance Centre immediately afterwards). He gave his details, but was never contacted again. He contacted the Centre again months later, but still heard nothing. He contacted them again in March 2006. He subsequently received a letter advising him of a Victim Support meeting which had been held five days’ previously. ‘As for being left in the lurch, I mean, this is the 21st century, it’s not the 19th century. We have computers; don’t these computers back the information up? When you give these details, in my job if I lost data like that, it would be a sackable offence. It would honestly be a sackable offence if I lost data because it’s unprofessional. That’s a failure on a duty of care’.90 1 1 Jane told us how her details and those of other survivors were apparently los when the the 7 July 10. 88 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 30 89 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 26 90 Transcript of interview with M, 18 April 2006, Volume 3, page 218 103 of 151 10.10 When we tried to contact survivors ourselves to ask them to contribute to our review, we were surprised to find that there was no definitive comprehensive list of survivors in existence. We would have e pe people caught up in the attacks. The most obvious possible agencies are the 7 July 10.11 that nce Centre. tween probably can guess that about another 50 or so were seriously injured and taken to hospital. That leaves 600 people out there, walking around London, on their own with list of names, and no- 10.12 The collection and management of contact details of survivors has been haz ously injured on 7 July, in particular, told us how their details had been lost several times, and they had informa x cted there to be an agency with a definitive list of Assistance Centre (which took over the role from the Family Assistance Centre in December 2005), the Metropolitan Police, or the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is the lead government department for the care of bereaved families and survivors of major incidents affecting UK citizens. There is no such agency, and no such list. The impact of this failure to collect and manage the contact details of survivors is hundreds of people have not had any contact with the police or the Assista Jane said, ‘When I had given my police statement, I was told that on my Tube there were be 700 and 900 people. We know what happened to the tragic 26, and we no support; no-one was reaching out to them…There was no one helping people’.91 hap ard. Some of those who were not seri therefore not been kept informed about available support, guidance and tion. Recommendation 47 We recommend that the London Resilience Forum identify one lead agency responsible for collating details of survivors and maintaining a definitive list. This lead agency should then act as the main channel of communication with survivors. We consider that the Assistance Centre would be the most appropriate body to collate and manage this information. In particular, plans must be put in place to address any data protection issues that are likely to arise in relation to the sharing of details among relevant authorities. 10.13 The Metropolitan Police Family Liaison system supported the severely injured to a ured in the King’s remarkable degree. We received universally positive feedback on Police Family Liaison Officers, who fulfilled wide-ranging roles, often going well beyond the call of duty to provide practical assistance and advice to those in their care. They also acted as a very effective channel of communication of information to survivors and their families. For instance, Joe, whose wife Gill was severely and permanently inj Cross/Russell Square bomb, said: 91 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 26 104 of 151 ‘We also received tremendous support from the police. I think it is fair to say, was, but ital, going to her bedside, attempting to get me there before she died. They remained with us throughout, and we are still in 10.14 rch 2006, we received a telephone call within three hours from a senior Family Liaison adviser who 10.15 verely injured survivors who were helped immeasurably by Family Liaison Officers in a variety of ways. Protec 10.16 Survivo For example, Joe told us about his experiences: d e u that ebody phoned her family and pretended that she had died in order to elicit a response from them’.93 10.17 Survivo told us a intrusio how his him was shown across the world and became an iconic image of the day. He called his local police to express and it needs to go on record, that the Metropolitan Police in particular seemed to have learned an awful lot in the wake of things like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. We were immediately assigned two Family Liaison Officers. Indeed it was the Family Liaison Officer who found me – they did not know who I they knew there was a me – on the night of 7 July, and raced me to the hosp because we all thought I was simply contact with them. We would count them as friends. That help was extraordinary’.92 The Family Liaison Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service has also shown a considerable degree of openness and willingness to learn lessons from their response to the 7 July attacks. Following our meeting with survivors on 23 Ma advised us that they had already identified action points on the basis of what they heard at the meeting. The feedback we received about the Police Family Liaison system was overwhelmingly positive. We heard accounts from se We would like to record our congratulations to the Metropolitan Police Service Family Liaison Officers. tion from media intrusion rs told us some disturbing tales of unwanted media intrusion following 7 July. ‘The hospital was very good in, for instance, stopping those people who arrive with bunches of flowers pretending to be relatives, or wrote us letters in wobbly handwriting to try to pretend that they were relatives so that their messages would get through. Those were all intercepted, and the phone calls from peopl who pretended to be from medical records to get medical details of Gill’s condition. In Australia, we will never find out who it was, but I can tell yo som rs in hospital, and those who were photographed or interviewed on 7 July, have how much they valued the protection they received against unwanted medi n. In some cases, this was unfortunately not the case. For example, Paul told us local newspaper printed his address, after an image of 92 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 46 93 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 46 105 of 151 concern about this, having heard that his name was now appearing on terrorist websites. He was advised to call ‘999’ if he saw anything suspicious. Contact with other survivors The survivors we spoke to all talked about the potential value of contact with other survivors of the same incidents. In some cases, groups of people have found each othe through coincidence or design. In other cases, people are still looking for others who were 10.18 r there on the day. ss know what to do with myself. I knew about the bereaved; I knew it had been a horrible tragedy. It was only through a friend who said, “I know She ix or lt like a freak with nightmares just hearing screams in the middle of the night. Everything I was going through, the fear of public transport, walking back and forth to work on the Strand, because I was too scared to get on a bus – I ondon my entire life; it was incredible to hear people reflecting my same experiences … People could talk by e-mail, and it is a great relief, ards is 10.20 ting with llow passengers at a meeting of King’s Cross United. She said, ‘That for me was a huge moment of relief .. to come across other people who had been through the same thing. I really thought that I was going mad, and that I should just be getting on with alk 10.21 10.19 One group in particular has had particular success in establishing a group of survivors: King’s Cross United. King’s Cross United is a group, currently with around 100 members, established by some survivors who happened to have some expertise in setting up secure websites, devising communications strategies and organising a network. Jane, who was instrumental in the establishment and running of King’s Cro United, told us about the impact on her of meeting other survivors: ‘I really did not someone else who was there,” and pointed me in the direction of Rachel. worked with her. Rachel invited me along to a pub meeting with about s seven other people who had been on the King’s Cross Tube. We met in a pub, as the British do, and, at the end of that meeting, felt so much better. It fe I was not have lived in L sometimes, when you get an e-mail through and it is someone going “God, I have not slept for three days. I am having nightmares”, and you realise you are not alone. This feeling of alone is something that official bodies have let us down on – feeling alone down in the Tube, but the feeling alone afterw something that will stay with me’.94 Kirsty, also a King’s Cross United founder member, told us about her first mee fe my life and, “what on earth was wrong with me?”. To suddenly sit in the pub and t to a whole lot of other people who were equally as terrified as me whenever they heard a siren, or could not get into lifts etc, was a huge, huge relief’.95 Rachel wrote a diary for the BBC news website in the week following 7 July. As a result of that, she was contacted by a number of other survivors, who between them decided 94 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 25 95 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 30 106 of 151 to estab rt she had lp lp, medical out about [post-traumatic stress disorder]; we found out about the [Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority]; we found out about the effectively, r s, in managed to control the copy and what we have said to simply get the message out to other survivors that we existed. Hence, we talked to BBC a; we did ournalists, students, researchers, all by ourselves, all whilst suffering from PTSD, in many cases – all whilst, in most cases, holding down full-time jobs. We have had no money; we have had no grant; we never asked ewhere, must have a job title, and a salary or a grant, that indicates that they are responsible for looking after us. I would like king after each other still. I think it would be nice if someone else could try to help us out now.’ 10.22 Membe survivo effectiv comme eople like us are bei better than we are. Quite clearly, they are not’. h lish King’s Cross United. She described powerfully the complete lack of suppo received in establishing and running the group: ‘It strikes me that, from the moment the bomb went off, I and other people on my train have looked after each other in the dark. We have pretty much been in the dark ever since. We have comforted each other; we have found each other; we have tried to he each other get legal help, psychological help, counselling, medical he advice. We found London Bombing Relief Charitable Fund. We set up a database, very which we have not lost. We have managed to keep an email database of each other; we are in regular contact; we have set up a website. We were unde massive media attention, so we set up a media strategy. We have had about 1,000 media enquiries; we have done a carefully targeted series of interview which we have North London local radio because we knew passengers lived in that are not talk to the New York Times. We have dealt with hundreds of messages from well-wishers, from weirdos, conspiracy theorists, j for any money. Someone, som to know who that person is or who those people are. We have looked after each other since the bomb went off; we are loo rs of King’s Cross United spoke about the value of web-based contact among rs. Others pointed to the potential for websites and e-mails to be used as e means of communication with survivors by official and support bodies. Kirsty nted that, ‘The interaction is amazing. It seems to me that if a bunch of p can have that amount of success, the people whose job it is to do that, and who ng paid to look after people who were involved, should be doing it a damn sight 96 10.23 The success of King’s Cross United is due to the actions of a few individuals who happened to be on the train that day. They happened to have expertise that enabled them to set up a secure website, develop a media strategy, and organise meetings and the effective dissemination of information. As Rachel said at our meeting on 23 Marc 2006: 96 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 54 107 of 151 ‘the next time a bomb goes off, you cannot rely on the fact that you will have a who knows how to set up a website, that you will have a Rachel, who kn Jane, ows how to write stories and handle the media on that train. It is actually not really fair on Jane ers that we should be in this situation’.97 , 0.24 Other informal networks of survivors operate besides King’s Cross United. For example, g There es, t 0.25 This is important because it has placed an unfair burden on a few individuals, themse own gro respons f providin enquirie 10.26 The Fam meeting remarka that wa families ry differen w apparen this mu 10.27 Anothe on the 17th floor of a tower block, ‘where the only way you can get up is by lift, that some people are still too scared of enclosed 10.28 urvivors. The gap in provision of support services was that there was no readily available advice on and I or any of the other passeng This is borne out by the fact that there is apparently no self-organised survivor group with websites or e-mail circulation lists as well as meetings, for those who survived the Aldgate, Tavistock Square or Edgware Road bombs. 1 people have made contact through being in the same hospital after 7 July, or sustainin similar injuries. Each of these groups has slightly different needs and interests. are meetings organised by the 7 July Assistance Centre, and there are other websit such as London Recovers. The key lessons emanating from all these groups is tha there is a lack of effective facilitation of and support for survivor contact. 1 lves survivors, who have taken the initiative and responsibility of organising their ups. This carries a significant administrative burden. It is also a big ibility, and can be highly stressful and distressing, both from the point of view o g support to other survivors, and from the point of view of handling media s and unwanted attention from people not caught up in the attacks. ily Assistance Centre, now the 7 July Assistance Centre, arranged some s for survivors. Several of the survivors we spoke to told stories indicating a ble lack of appreciation of their needs. For example, one of the first meetings s arranged at the Family Assistance Centre included both survivors and bereaved . Joe told us, ‘It became clear very quickly, and shockingly, that we felt ve tly, for instance, from the bereaved families in the room’.98 The lesson has no tly been learnt that this is not appropriate from either group’s point of view – st be built into future plans so that the same mistakes are not made again. r meeting was arranged to take place spaces to get in that lift, and walked up 17 floors to get there … it was just a disgrace, to be honest’.99 We had some discussion as to the best way for the Government to respond to this lesson. Would it be appropriate for a government body to run survivors’ groups? We think probably not. The success of King’s Cross United is partly due to its independence, and the fact that it is run by survivors for s how to go about setting up a support group, and there was no official body that actively put survivors in touch with one another if they wished to be in 97 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 59 98 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 47 99 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 27 108 of 151 contact. The survivors we have spoken to tended to want informal contact, led by themselves but effectively supported by people with experience of running survivor groups, and with expertise to provide appropriate support and guidance. Recommendations 48 and 49 In future, any Assistance Centre that is set up following a major incident should have explicitly within its remit the provision of tools and guidance for setting up survivor groups, and where requested should act in a supporting / facilitating role. In particular, it would be useful to provide advice and support in the following areas: How to establish and run a secure internet site; How to ensure that survivor groups are not infiltrated by journalists, conspiracy theorists, or voyeurs; Practical advice on sources of information and support available to survivors; Guidance on health risks to be aware of, including post-traumatic stress disorder and any other conditions likely to be experienced by survivors of the incident in question; Support in the form of counselling and advice for people who emerge as leaders of the group. We recommend that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport conduct a review of the lessons to be learnt from King’s Cross United, by talking to those involved, with a view to developing guidance for people who may want to set up survivor groups in the future. We request that this guidance be published by November 2006 so that we can consider it as part of our follow-up review. r rovided to us by the NHS that as many as 1,000 people and 2,000 of their children are likely to be suffering from psychological trauma as a result of their experiences on 7 July. 10.30 The 7 July Assistance Centre provides counselling and other support services to survivors and bereaved families. Some survivors have told us that they have benefited Psychological support 10.29 Most of the survivors we spoke to had undergone counselling or specialist treatment fo post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, this support was forthcoming at the appropriate time, in an appropriate way, and to positive effect. In other cases, individuals encountered difficulties and delays in gaining access to appropriate support. We know from figures p greatly from the counselling and other support provided by the Assistance Centre. 109 of 151 Unfortunately, others have recounted stories of less helpful encounters with the Assistance Centre. 10.31 Kirsty told us about the difficulties she faced in trying to gain access to support in covering from her post-traumatic stress. She went to her GP, who prescribed ‘I then decided, having heard good reports from other people about the 7 July ll dually, the conversation started to dry up and I was not really getting much feedback from kward ’. I left, 0.32 One of the services offered by the Assistance Centre was a 24 hour helpline. Kirsty told e 09.00’.101 10.33 herapy, such as is provided by the NHS trauma service. o- 7 they 10.35 fic re tranquilisers, but she felt she needed more support than that, so she went to the Assistance Centre. Her visit was not a success. Assistance Centre, to go and visit them. I rang them up and was told that I could come in at any time, talk to anybody I want; there would be trained people there to help me. I went in one afternoon and was obviously quite nervous about it; it was the first time I had really talked to anyone professional about this. I went and sat in a room on a comfy sofa, sitting opposite a lady, and I started to te her what I was going through and how lost and desperate I felt. Gra her. I began to wonder what on earth I was doing there. When the aw silences got too much, eventually she put down her cup of tea and said, ‘I am really sorry, but it is my first day, and I really do not know what to say and have not really been back there since for any sort of support, although I have still been in touch with them’.100 1 us about her experience of calling the 24 hour helpline that was advertised on th Family Assistance Centre website: ‘I woke up screaming and shouting and I could not breathe. I was obviously pretty terrified. I had a recollection of the 7 July support website advertising a 24-hour helpline. In my panicked state in the middle of the night, I got on the internet, found the website, found the number, which was clearly advertised as 24-hour, phoned it and got a recorded message telling me to call back at For people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, non-specialist counselling may not be the most appropriate or effective treatment. Some will benefit greatly from specialist trauma t 10.34 Seven weeks after 7 July, London’s mental health services convened to organise a c ordinated plan to identify, assess and treat those traumatised by their experiences on July. They had to do this, because there was no plan in place prior to 7 July, and had not been involved in emergency planning up to that point in time. The NHS trauma service caters for people who meet the diagnostic criteria for a speci condition (post-traumatic stress disorder). They have so far had 692 referrals and 100 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 31 101 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 31 110 of 151 treated 146 people, most of whom meet these criteria, or have been diagnosed with travel phobia. We received very positive feedback from survivors who have undergone a programme of therapy provided by the NHS trauma service. For example, Hanna survived the h, who King’s Cross/Russell Square explosion, said: ‘I was sent contact details for mental health care should I need it. I contacted in November and after an assessment was referred to the trauma screening team within a couple of weeks. The psychological help I 10.36 t-traumatic stress that is sent out to survivors by the clinic, is a questionnaire relating to individuals’ symptoms over the past week. Kathy, a survivor sophisticated for her purposes and that, because she had not had a bad week, she therefore did not qualify Assistan her symptoms of trauma. Essentially, Kathy’s needs were not met by either service, and 10.37 The Assistance Centre put Kirsty in touch with the NHS post-traumatic stress clinic. She anage Kirsty t atrist and paying for it out of my own pocket, because the help that wa ame far too late as far as I was concerned’.103 10.38 pport for her to find someone able and willing to help. 0.39 told us that when they reviewed trauma services following 7 July, they found that waiting lists were up to 12 months in some cases, well beyond the 13-week some survivors had such difficulties in getting access to ot the mental health team have received has been fantastic and I have been seen almost weekly by a psychologist since December. I have nothing by praise for the organisation and care that has gone into this element of my recovery.102 The diagnostic tool for pos of the Edgware Road bomb, told us that this was insufficiently for the therapy programme. Kathy did not find the counselling offered by the 7 July ce Centre helpful, because she felt it was not sufficiently specialist to deal with she has been left without any appropriate source of help or support. received a letter months later offering her an appointment, but by then she had m d to find a private psychiatrist, and felt she was making progress with him. old us, ‘I am still seeing a psychi s offered to me c Kristina encountered similar problems in gaining access to professional psychological su . It took several months ‘I can understand everything takes time; however … when something like this happens, and you think you are at the end of your rope, and you do not know if you can get up the next day, to wait four, five months for some help, and for someone to give you coping mechanisms – I just think it is too long’.104 1 The NHS has target. This explains why treatment. 10.40 A number of survivors told us that they had only found out about the Assistance Centre and/or the NHS trauma service by accident or through word of mouth – they were n contacted directly by the NHS. For example, Jane told us, ‘I do not need a lot of care and attention, but everything I have found, whether it is about being invited to the 1 102 n submission from Hannah, Volume 3, page 232 ript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 31 ript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 50 Writte 103 Transc 104 Transc 111 of 151 November service, whether it is finding out about [the 23 March meeting of this Committee], whether it is finding out about the Charlotte Street post-traumatic stress clinic, has been information I have received from either other members of King’s Cross 10.41 by ider that this would be a useful starting point in identifying some basic standards of care that ought to be provided to survivo 10.42 Survivo aware o the affe ; contact 10.43 The NH that the t they we n legislat share in ot have su sistance Centre faced similar problems. il are so many survivors still to be found and assessed, and the fact that post-traumatic stress can surface several months after an incident, there is 10.45 Several Assistan it was me ho was on the Piccadilly Line train, said: ily ne, who were on those Tubes, who just because of the name did not go; who were put off t of in five seconds, or at least dealt with or discussed’.107 United, or just one person gets contacted and then passes it on’.105 Kirsty suggested to us that people whose details are collected should be contacted the Assistance Centre within a month.106 We cons rs of major incidents. rs we spoke to suggested various means by which they could have been made f the available support services: leaflets to local GP surgeries along the routes of cted Tube lines; leaflets in Tube stations; use of Underground advertising space with Oystercard holders. S trauma service did instigate an outreach programme, but they have told us ir efforts to identify and contact survivors had been hampered by the fact tha re not entitled to obtain contact details of survivors because of data protectio ion. Emergency services are, under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, allowed to formation about people involved in major incidents, but trauma services do n ch access. We gather that the 7 July As 10.44 There are also cost pressures and long-term funding issues which threaten the NHS trauma service – the trauma service for 7 July survivors only has secure funding unt September 2006. Given that there likely to be a need for this service for at least another year. survivors of 7 July told us that they did not consider approaching the Family ce Centre in the months following 7 July because its name led them to believe ant for families of the deceased rather than survivors. For example, Jane, w ‘I thought –‘that is not for me – the Family Assistance Centre. Rightly so, that is for the bereaved; that is for the people who really need it, the friends and fam … I really think there were hundreds of people, who should have go and did not know what was going on, and did not know there was a resource there for them … it was great, but no-one knew it was there, because of a simple, branding, naming issue. That was a simple thing that anyone in London who works in advertising or marketing as I do could have though 105 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 27 106 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 32 107 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 26 112 of 151 Kristina was also put off by the name, thinking the Centre must be for bereaved families.108 10.46 , and it led survivors to believe that the Centre existed only to provide support for bereaved families. This pr service 10.47 The iso don, away fr availabl ve just been left. Certainly I would doubt very much that anybody where I live would have even any clue t rder to get treated for what happened here’.110 10.48 d and .49 We have found that the provision of psychological support following 7 July has in some about them seems not to have been disseminated effectively among survivors. 10.50 Followi and sym approp e l needs of people affected by future possible incidents’.111 The name ‘Family Assistance Centre’ was a misnomer evented survivors who heard about the centre from making use of the s it provided. lation felt by survivors is all the more intense for those who live outside Lon om the Assistance Centre and some of the specialist trauma support that is e in the capital. M told us, ‘people outside the M25 ha as to where I was or what even I am going through’.109 Ben said, ‘all the support is centred in London. I have had some counselling from my local GP, which was a godsend at the time, because it was somebody to talk to. I am working from home a the moment, and I have changed job completely , and various life changes are happening because of the 7th. Once or twice a week, I am essentially forced to come into London to receive treatment, taking time off work to do it and the expense of coming in. I realise it is unrealistic to have centres everywhere for everybody, but it does seem somewhat ironic that I have to come to the heart of London in o Survivors living outside London told us that they felt particularly isolate excluded from the psychological and other support services that were available. 10 cases been excellent, whilst in other cases there have been unacceptable delays. The available services seem to have been poorly co-ordinated – if at all - and information ng 7 July, there was a failure to ensure that survivors were (a) aware of the risk ptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and (b) aware of and given access to riate professional support. 10.51 We understand that NHS trauma services are not involved in emergency planning. Th NHS London Development Centre told us that, ‘In London current emergency planning does not take into account how to treat the possible emotional, spiritual and psychologica 10.52 The failure to plan for the care of hundreds of people who are likely to have suffered psychological trauma having survived the 7 July explosions is completely unacceptable. 108 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 40 , page 216 ge 249 109 Transcript of interview with M, 18 April 2006, Volume 3 110 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 63 111 Written evidence from NHS London Development Centre, Volume 2, pa 113 of 151 10.53 and what support will be provided to them and by whom. 10.54 incident and the people likely to have been involved. Clearly, NHS trauma services should be involved in the emergency Plans for responding to major incidents should include plans that extend into the months following an incident, setting out how survivors will be informed of any health risks, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Plans for humanitarian assistance centres should include clear plans for marketing and advertising any services that are set up, bearing in mind the location and nature of the planning process on an ongoing basis. Recommendations 50 to 52 The London Resilience Forum should invite NHS trauma services to join its meetings. Having done that, the London Resilience Forum should develop detailed plans for the care of survivors in the immediate aftermath and the months following any future major incident. These should include plans for making survivors aware of the support services that are available through a variety of channels. They should also include explicit plans for caring for those who live outside the city (this element of the plans should be drawn up in consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers and other relevant partners). We request that the London Resilience Forum report back to us on progress that has been made in this regard by November 2006. Any assistance centre that is set up in response to a major incident in the future should simply be named ‘[date or location of incident] Assistance Centre’. The name ‘Family Assistance Centre’ was misleading and resulted in survivors not coming forward for assistance. We recommend that the London Resilience Forum urgently find a way to resolve the problems that have prevented the NHS trauma service from having access to details of survivors, so that those who are known to the police or other authorities can be contacted by the NHS trauma service. We request that the London Resilience Forum report back to us in July 2006 to tell us what action has been taken. 114 of 151 0.55 Some survivors told us about their concerns about the health implications of having e y be just that we are all run down and we are catching everything that is going round, but there is nothing to put anybody’s minds at rest about 10.56 ms a ere nd is , 0.57 Survivors we spoke to had outstanding concerns about the possible health or onitoring of their health. Medical follow-up 1 been in the tunnel where the explosions took place. Kirsty told us in March 2006, ‘I know there is a lot of worry at the moment that a lot of people have got chest infections and chest problems, and everybody is very concerned about smoke inhalation – what w were breathing in. It ma that. It is just another worry that we do not need at the moment’.112 Kristina commented: ’there seems to be nothing to oversee and to monitor people’s health. It see bit strange. We were told that there was no bomb, which there was; we w told that there was nothing to worry about in respect of what we breathed in. The first thing they told us was wrong, so how do we know that the seco not? We do not know if we are being monitored, how we are being monitored and if we are going to be told any information, because we have been given scant information up to now. Will we be given any in the future? Your guess is as good as mine’.113 1 implications of the smoke they inhaled in the tunnels. They had not yet heard from any official body about the possible risks and any arrangements f ongoing m Recommendation 53 The Assistance Centre should take on the role from the outset of being the main channel of communication with survivors. It should provide regular updates, including information and advice about any ongoing monitoring of health impacts of the incident. Legal advice and administrative support Anyone injured in a major incident faces a great deal of administrative work. fill in forms for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, and for th 10.58 They must e London e ith the e said, ‘even an hour a week from somebody who knew how to do this stuff would have taken so much pressure off us, and it would have been Bombings Charitable Relief Fund. They must complete applications for disabilityrelated benefits, and various other forms. Joe told us that it would be helpful in futur if the Assistance Centre provided administrative support to help survivors deal w mountain of administration. H 112 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 33 113 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 40 115 of 151 so much easier to set that thing up than some of the more useless kinds of support that 10.59 and frustration among survivors. Ben told us, ‘Having the energy to deal with what happened, day by day, is draining, but want fill he r the incident has been reported to the police. 10.60 number of survivors who gave us their views told us that they had suffered problems st-traumatic stress. Some employers have been very pportive. Others have not, and when that happens survivors need advice and support ed 10.61 tised, dealing egal 10.62 have 10.63 nce of planning for the large numbers of people red but were traumatised by their experiences. The survivors who came to give their views and share their experiences with the Committee were motivated by a desire to make things better for others caught up in a major incident in the future. The lessons we were eventually on offer’.114 The application forms for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority were a particular cause of confusion then you get the administration, and you look at the form, and partly you do not to fill it in because you have to think about events of the day, and partly you cannot it in because it is nonsensical’.115 The forms themselves were inappropriate to t incident. For example, they included questions about whether the perpetrator of the crime is known to the applicant, and whethe A at work as a result of their po su about their rights and what options are available to them. Kirsty told us that she ask the Assistance Centre for advice, and they said they would get back to her but never did. Some survivors have had the benefit of pro bono legal advice from a group of London law firms. Joe told us about his experience of this support. ‘Through the Family Assistance Centre, we were immediately put in touch with a top firm of London solicitors, who gave us extraordinary pro bono support and continue to do so. That has been invaluable. The one thing, not only if you have been badly injured but if, like me, you are severely trauma with administration is very very difficult indeed… We were given incredible l support, that clearly other people here have not received, and we are very grateful for that’.116 Survivors who had benefited from pro bono legal advice reported to us how immensely valuable it had been. However, access to this advice seems to been inconsistent. Overall, those who were severely injured on 7 July gave us positive feedback about the support that was made available to them through the Assistance Centre, the Police Family Liaison Service and other channels. But there seems to have been a complete abse who were not seriously physically inju 114 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 46 115 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 62 116 Transcript of Committee meeting, 23 March 2006, Volume 3, page 45 116 of 151 have identified on the basis of their experiences must be incorporated into future emergency plans. Recommendation 54 We recommend that the London Resilience Team, in consultation with all the members of the London Resilience Forum and with survivors of 7 July, produce a guidance document setting out how the needs of survivors of a major incident will be addressed both during, immediately after, and in the months that follow. We request that the London Resilience Team provide us with a progress report by November 2006. 117 of 151 118 of 151 Conclusion 11 119 of 151
- Main article: Report of the 7 July Review Committee:Conclusion
- Main article: Report of the 7 July Review Committee:Annexes
Taken from 
- London Resilience / Metropolitan Police Service training video
- For definitions of ‘catastrophic’ and ‘major’ incidents, see Glossary
- 3 Transcript of Committee meeting, 3 November 2005, Volume 2, page 7