Norwegian police counters criticism of response to shooting

Photo: Norwegian police counters criticism of response to shooting / Europe

Norwegian police on Monday defended their actions in responding to the attack on Utoya island that left 86 people dead, following criticism from among others the survivors, dpa reported.

The special Delta police force had responded "as soon as possible" and were "quickly there," Oslo police chief Anstein Gjengedal told broadcaster NRK.

Questions have been raised over the police response time and the fact that the Delta force had failed to use a helicopter to reach the scene after reports of a shooting at a youth camp on Friday.

According to Gjengedal, Delta were deployed after the bombing in central Oslo, which preceded the shooting by a man armed with two guns and a large quantity of ammunition.

Members of the special force drove from Oslo and took boats to the island located some 40 kilometres away. Police said Sunday it took an hour between being alerted of the shootings and the surrender of the suspect.

The Oslo police helicopter was not operational until later that day.

But Oslo police chief of staff Johan Fredriksen told NRK that having a helicopter available would not have made a difference because it would have been used for surveillance rather than to transport the Delta force.

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