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“Unlike France, the English police are still very discreet at the start of the investigation”

According to a former member of the French intelligence, “we have entered a new phase”, where “people react” to the terrorist attacks.

Whereas an attack considered as terrorist by the authorities made two dead on Friday 29 November in the London Bridge district, in London, Alain Rodier, director of research at the French Center for Research on Intelligence (CF2R), considers on Franceinfo that the communication of the British police on this type of events is different from that of the French authorities.

“Unlike France, the English police are still very discreet at the start of the investigation, it does not give the identity of the individual, for example, so that it can move forward very quickly to discover connections. outdoor ” explains the former senior officer in the French intelligence, which also highlights a change in mentality of the population in the face of terrorist attacks. “Now people are reacting”, he says, referring to the fact that passers-by tried to neutralize the author of the London attack.

Two years after an attack in the same area of ​​London, the British capital has still experienced what the police call a terrorist attack. Does this mean that nothing really protects against this kind of attack?

Alain Rodier: Absolutely. Especially since once again, it seems that this attack was led by an isolated individual. This is not a “lone wolf” because you are never alone in this type of attack. There is always an environment. The investigation will tell. Moreover, unlike France, the English police is still very discreet at the start of the investigation. It does not give the identity of the individual, for example. And this, so as to be able to advance very quickly in order to discover external connections. This will allow them to search the individual or to question “quietly” relatives of the suspect without any accomplices are notified of the case.

You refute the phrase “lone wolf”?

There is never an individual alone. There is always an environment. Then, it is necessary to know if this environment was aware or not of its intentions. The investigation will tell. I also note that this is the first attack since the “dark year” of 2017, since there had been five attacks or attempted attacks. This explains why in the meantime, the alert level had been lowered.

However, with a higher alert level, we might not have been able to avoid an attack like this …

Absolutely. An individual with a kitchen knife who attacks the crowd is almost impossible to prevent. In addition, the mayor of London stressed the courage of British citizens. They were absolutely fabulous. Not only did they not flee at the time of the attack, but passers-by went to the individual. Then the police arrived with breathtaking speed. It also shows that in Great Britain, steps are being taken to ensure that police can intervene as quickly as possible in these situations. However, compared to the French police, British police have a disability because they are not all armed. So they can not necessarily all intervene as what we saw in this attack.

How to explain that passers-by intervened? Is there a change of mentality with respect to these terrorist attacks?

I think we have entered a new phase. There was a first phase where the populations were dazed. In the second phase, people have become accustomed to living in a difficult environment. Now people are reacting. We are in a third sentence and it is an excellent thing. However, citizens should not be told to rush as soon as they see an action of this type because the risk is high.

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