Updated: Wednesday, 13th December 2017 @ 12:51pm

Manchester Arena attack: Off-duty female police officer and mother of three confirmed among dead

Manchester Arena attack: Off-duty female police officer and mother of three confirmed among dead

| By Francesca Marshall

An off-duty female Cheshire Police officer has been named as one of the dead after Monday’s terror attack at Manchester Arena.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins also confirmed that all the families of those who had died in the attack had now been spoken to by the police.

“Very sadly I can confirm that one of the victims is a serving police officer but in respecting their family’s wishes I can make no further comment at this stage," he said outside GMP headquarters.

“I would like to confirm that we are confident that we have now spoken to all the immediate families of those who sadly died in Monday’s attack and they are all now being supported by specially trained officers.”

He also added that officers have spoken to all of the families and all of those who are currently lying injured in hospital.

Victims are expected to be formally named by Greater Manchester Police once the home office has carried out official post-mortems, expected to take between four and five days.

Chief Constable Hopkins said that investigations were moving at a fast pace and that it had become obvious that it was a network which they were tracking down in relation to the attack.

The police now have a total of four people in custody after raiding a city centre flat earlier today while reports have just come in that bomber Salman Abedi's younger brother Hashem has been arrested in Libyan capital Tripoli for suspected ties to Islamic State.

Chief Constable Hopkins said: “You will be aware that the level of activity in this investigation is intense and is continuing at a fast pace. We made three arrests in connection with the attacks overnight and this afternoon we entered an address in Manchester City Centre using a controlled explosion.

“Officers are currently at the scene but in order to do this safely we briefly had to close a nearby mainline railway, which has now been reopened. Those extensive searches will now continue.”

Chief Constable Hopkins also confirmed that there would be no military personnel being deployed onto the streets of Manchester.

He added: “People will have seen a significant increase in the number of armed officers in Greater Manchester. We have been supported by forces in the North West and beyond in order to do this and this all forms part of our tried and tested plan for a major terrorist incident.

“With the threat level being increased to critical you will be aware that military are supporting policing across the country.

“This is about using the military across sites in London and elsewhere to free up armed police officers to support police forces.

“There are no military personnel patrolling Manchester but we are therefore able to receive additional armed policing support because of this plan.”

The UK terror threat has been raised to critical in the wake of the Manchester suicide bombing attack amid fears attacker Abedi did not act alone.

The attack on Monday night was the worst seen in the UK since 56 people were killed during the July 7 London bombings in 2005.