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London Assembly

Report of the 7 July Review Committee

(Courtesy of the London Assembly)

June 2006

The 7 July Review Committee was set up to examine the lessons to be learned from the response to the London bombings on 7 July, and in particular communications issues. It contains a detailed analysis of the response to the bombings. There is no doubting the courage and determination of many thousands of individuals who responded to the attacks on London on 7 July. But while the people involved performed outstandingly, the systems and equipment that were supposed to support them did not. Our report makes 54 recommendations designed to improve the way such major incidents, and the people caught up in them, are managed.

Chair’s Foreword

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