/ Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said:

This continues to be a fast-moving investigation and there has been a significant amount of activity taking place throughout the night and this morning. I want to provide you with an update about the progress of the investigation to date.

You will all be aware that officers are currently responding to an incident in Hulme. A suspicious package has now been deemed safe and the cordon has now been removed. Can I stress at this stage that this incident is not necessarily linked to the wider investigation but I hope people will understand that we will always take any reports seriously.

As regards the full ongoing investigation we currently have eight people who have been arrested in connection with Monday’s attack. They are all men. A woman who was arrested yesterday has since been released. The arrests have taken place in Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton. We are now carrying out associated searches at a number of addresses.

These have been an intense three days for the officers and staff of Greater Manchester Police, along with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services.

I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant, and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation.

These searches will take several days to complete, as you would expect, therefore there will be some disruption. However, it is important that we continue with these searches.

Alongside the investigation we have a team of specially trained officers who have been supporting the families of those who tragically lost their lives.

Last night the family liaison officers shared with them the fact that intelligence had been leaked and published in the New York Times. It is absolutely understandable that this has caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss. A statement was issued by the National Counter Terrorism Police Network last night. I do not wish to add anything further to this and I will not be commenting on information sharing arrangements with our international partners.

It will take some days before formal identification can take place but we are assisting the families who want to provide a tribute to their loved ones. To be clear this is not formal identification and is part of our efforts to support the families. I know how important it is to them that the media are supporting the tributes to their loved ones.

We have been overwhelmed by the support from members of the public and I would ask for their patience while the investigation continues.

As this morning’s incident in Hulme shows it remains important for people to continue to be vigilant and report any concerns to us through the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321 or to police on 999.

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