Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove criticises Norwegian police for their actions about Utøya under Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting massacre.
“I think they [police] took a hell of a long time to get to the scene of the shooting,” he told NRK.
Criticism has been widespread about how officers handled the attacks prior to Breivik’s arrest regarding the police helicopter, inflatable boat, choice of route, response time, resources, and instructions when there.
Boat crew statements they were “helpless”, but reports from Northern Buskerud Police District say that the action plan was modified several times before reaching the island. Officers in charge of the operation also changed before the police reached Utøya.
Police Director Øystein Mæland and the evaluation committee ruled that the police would not have got to Utøya any faster had they done things differently.
Nevertheless, a more than 80-point internal evaluation covering what went wrong, could have been done better, or differently shows they could have got there 22 minutes earlier and that there were serious communications failures.
Referring to the intelligence community, he stated, “on the other hand, there is a limitation to what can be achieved, and it gets particularly difficult to prevent this sort of attack when you get one person acting alone.”
Before her resignation resulting from her Norwegian intelligence agents in Pakistan gaffe, Police Security Service director (PST) Janne Kristiansen stated she wanted wider powers in the fight against lone wolf terrorism.
“[Hindering] this then becomes an almost social, almost communal family matter rather than an intelligence and security matter,” declared Sir Richard.
UK police special advisor Dr Samuel Johnston advocated last year police do more to encourage the community to report suspicious behaviour, alleging people could have assisted police better regarding Breivik.
“It’s not about creating an informer society, but it’s possible to accomplish [community responsibility] based on experiences that have shown to be valuable in England. We have a saying that policing is far too serious a business to leave to the police alone,” he declared.
“I think the police have to think hard about how they responded, you know, their capability to respond in an emergency,” concluded Sir Richard.
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