The report of a public inquiry into the death of an unarmed man who was shot by a Greater Manchester Police firearms officer is due to be published today.

Anthony Grainger, aged 36 from Bolton, was shot by through the windscreen of a stolen Audi in a car park in Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3, 2012.

A public inquiry into his death was held at Liverpool Crown Court in 2017 and its report is due to be published today.

Greater Manchester Police have now been passed a copy of the report, and say that the force "does not set out on any policing operation with the intention of firearms being discharged."

They issued a statement, emphasisng that the findings of the report will be considered with the "utmost care, attention and reflection", to assess what more can be done to improve the safety of police firearms operations.

The court heard 15 weeks of evidence, including more than two weeks in closed sessions.

The officer who fired the fatal shot, referred to in court as Q9, gave evidence from behind a screen and said he believed Mr Grainger had reached down as if to grab a firearm.

But the inquiry heard no firearms were found on Mr Grainger or in the vehicle.

The pre-planned police operation was part of investigation Operation Shire, which was concerned with the activity of Mr Grainger and other individuals who were suspected of conspiring to commit armed robberies.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found the operation relied on "out of date" intelligence in relation to Mr Grainger and briefings to officers contained "inaccurate information".

Following his evidence to the public inquiry, former assistant chief constable Steven Heywood was investigated by the police watchdog, now known as the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).

The IOPC looked at the evidence he gave, particularly in relation to the way he recorded information in his police logbook, and referred him to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). However a decision was made by the CPS not to charge him.

David Totton, Robert Rimmer and Joseph Travers, all from Manchester, were arrested after Mr Grainger's death but later found not guilty of conspiracy to rob following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in September 2012.

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokesman said: “We fully understand the heartbreaking effect that Anthony Grainger’s death has had on his family and loved ones. We also fully understand that the public inquiry will have been very difficult for them. On behalf of Greater Manchester Police, we offer our condolences to Anthony Grainger’s family and to his loved ones.

“We have received the public inquiry report into the death of Anthony Grainger and we are considering the findings of the chairman, HHJ Teague QC.

“In his report, the chairman has made a number of findings which are critical of GMP. The criticisms are wide-ranging and include criticisms of aspects of the planning and preparation of the firearms operation during which Anthony Grainger lost his life on March 3, 2012.

“The force, our commanders, and our officers do not set out on any policing operation with the intention of firearms being discharged. This case was no different and the safety of the public, the subjects of police operations and our officers is, and remains, our absolute priority.

“That being said, we undertake to consider each and every one of the chairman’s findings and criticisms with the utmost care, attention and reflection. It is what the public would expect GMP to do in circumstances where criticisms have been made of the planning and preparation of a police operation in which a young man lost his life. It is what GMP will do.

“Working alongside our regional and national partners, we will consider all of the chairman’s recommendations to assess what more can be done now, and in the future, to further improve the safety of police firearms operations.

“Many changes have already been made locally, regionally and nationally since the death of Anthony Grainger in 2012, most recently following an independent review conducted by the College of Policing. We will continue to strive to maximise the safety of all policing operations.

“We will not comment any further until we have had an opportunity to read the chairman’s report in more detail."

Chairman of the inquiry Judge Thomas Teague QC was due to announce the publication of the report in a short hearing at Liverpool Crown Court at midday.