Lessons of 7/7

THE main thoughts of those at the July 7 inquest yesterday were rightly with the 52 murdered victims of the atrocity, and their loved ones.

The quiet dignity of bereaved relatives remains profoundly moving. It must also have taken tremendous courage for survivors of the attacks, as well as staff from the emergency services and ordinary members of the public who performed so heroically in the most terrible of circumstances, to relive such harrowing events.

It must be some comfort that the cCoroner, Lady Justice Hallett, ruled none of the dead could have been saved – despite concerns at the response times achieved by 999 crews stretched to breaking point.

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Yet there remain many lessons from the bombings – not least because of the ever-present risk of further outrages following the death of al-Qaida figurehead Osama bin Laden.

It is clear there need to be better links between the emergency services – although no amount of work and training can prepare for every eventuality in the confused aftermath of a major emergency.

Yet Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis was correct when he said Government must be “fearless” in implementing reforms of the security service, particularly with regard to its procedures and record keeping. The inquest heard highly-sensitive material which, as the coroner observed yesterday, had been thoroughly investigated in open proceedings. This should be a reminder that the security services should not be above scrutiny, despite the nature of their work.

Nevertheless, some relatives still insist a public inquiry should be held into events leading to the atrocity. This seems unlikely in the absence of evidence that MI5 failed to prevent the bombings and, as others poignantly observed, no inquiry will bring back loved ones who died.