Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Norwegian Justice Minister defends police action against criticism

The Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget, praised Tuesday the "fantastic" job of the police after the double attack on Friday killed at least, 76 people, despite the many criticisms against agents for their slowness to react after the shooting. "I take this opportunity to thank the Oslo police, police from other districts and other specialized organs their fantastic job," said Knut Storberget after a meeting with police commanders.

The minister highlighted the efforts of these "men and women" to restore security and normalcy. "These are people who worked more than I could expect from anyone who stopped their vacation and volunteered," he said. "It's very important that we have an open and critical approach ... but there is a time for everything," Storberget said, referring to criticism, especially in the media.

After the bombing of Behring Anders Breivik in Oslo, the response of the police on the island where the slaughter took place was riddled with problems: a boat that entered the water for excess weight to the lack of a helicopter equipped to carry special forces to the place. The first message that came to the police that something was happening in Utoya island was at 17.26 hours.

However, it was not until 17.38 when the local authorities in the nearest town became the first official call to Norway's security forces. These did not reach the island until 18.25, and only two minutes later the murderer surrendered without resistance. That is, it took 47 minutes from the police received the notice until Breivik was arrested, at which time he had time to execute 68 people.

"You can not expect a better response than that (...)", chief of staff said Johan Fredriksen. "We would do it the same way unless we had more resources," he said. The delay was not the only fact controversial policing. Three days after the killing, the police reduced the number of victims, 93 INIAL, 76 dead, 68 Utoya and eight in Oslo.

The police officials have explained that they felt the error, probably due to some bodies counted twice, since, although, at first tried to be prudent, then the number has skyrocketed. "We are investigating what happened," said one of the police officials. "On Friday there was much confusion," he apologized, and said that at first the authorities gave a very low number of figures to try to stay calm.

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