Justice Ministry critical of police in terror attack evaluation report

There were several areas where the authorities could have performed better

It was no coincidence that Jens Madsen resigned as head of the national intelligence agency PET  yesterday after just a year and a half at the helm.

Just hours later, the Justice Ministry released a report on the authorities’ own evaluation of their response to the terrorist attacks that killed two people and wounded six police officers in Copenhagen in February.

The report (here in Danish) looked into ten central themes and took issue with the performance of the authorities in a number of areas that day, even if they were evaluated to be adequately prepared for a terror attack.

“Despite this, the evaluation has identified areas in which things could have been done better and drawn conclusions that can be utilised as knowledge and learning-tools for future emergency work,” the report found.

One of the issues was the response time of the police that day. From the time of the initial shooting at Krudttønden, it took the police four hours to establish a presence in front of the synagogue on Krystalgade, where the second victim was shot.

Another issue was the poor protection offered to the second victim at the synagogue where the perpetrator Omar El-Hussein was able to trick six policemen into letting him get close to the victim, Dan Uzan, by pretending to be drunk.

READ MORE: PET head steps down

Image troubles
The report found there were also problems with CCTV footage and logistics.

The police were forced to spend an extraordinary amount of resources getting hold of surveillance material that could help identify the perpetrator.

In terms of logistics, the police overview of personnel resources and gear was found inadequate and some divisions were unable to properly equip their officers with the required vests and machine-guns.

The report also found that during his most recent stint in prison, El-Hussein was reported three times by personnel who suspected he had been radicalised. PET were notified of the reports, but were not notified of his release from prison on January 31. The Copenhagen City Council were also unaware of his release.

Shooting practice needed
The report blasted the police for their shooting prowess during the attack. The police fired shots at El-Hussein at Krudttønden and the synagogue.

At the synagogue, one of the two policemen had his hands in his pockets with his machine-gun hanging loosely in the carrying strap. After El-Hussein shot Uzan and at the two policemen next to him, one of the policemen managed to fire one shot, while the other fired none.

Based on this, the evaluation report indicated there was a need for increased focus on the shooting ability and weapons handling of the police.

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