• Sweden edition
Police 'didn't want' pre-bomb video footage

Police 'didn't want' pre-bomb video footage

Published: 06 Dec 2011 07:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2011 07:43 GMT+01:00

Swedish police weren't interested in a shop owner's offer of a month's worth of surveillance camera footage taken in the weeks before Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up in central Stockholm last December.

The footage has since been erased.

“I asked them if they were interested in it and they said no,” Naresh Lakhwani, owner of the Step-In Watch Center on Drottinggatan, told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Lakhwani's shop sits across from the spot on Bryggargatan where Abdulwahab's explosive device detonated, killing him and leaving Stockholm holiday shoppers in shock.

In a sequence of footage taken from Lakhwani's cameras, a man who could be Abdulwahab can be seen turning down Bryggargatan. While the explosion itself isn't captured on film, it does show how people are thrown back by the blast.

When police arrived on the scene, Lakhwani said he had footage which could be useful for the investigation.

Nevertheless, it took police 48 hours to retrieve the surveillance camera footage.

In addition, police told Lakhwani they were only interested in film taken in the hour before and after the explosion.

Surprised at the response from police, Lakhwani explained his cameras had captured round-the-clock footage for “at least a month” prior to the blast.

“I said, 'you can take all the equipment, because this really belongs to the public, it's something we can all benefit from'. They said they had the information they needed, that's it,” Lakhwani told SvD.

The video captured in the weeks leading up the bombing was later automatically erased from the hard drive where it was recorded to make room for new footage.

Terror experts told the newspaper that terrorists often carry out reconnaissance of the areas where they plan attacks and that the footage refused by Swedish police could have contained key evidence to determine whether or not Abdulwahab may have had an accomplice.

“I'm at a loss for words,” the expert told SvD.

“It's amateurish of the police to not collect the material that exists.”

Another terror expert was also critical of how Swedish police handled the situation.

“This shows that the Swedish police can't handle investigations of exceptional events,” the person told the newspaper.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:45 December 6, 2011 by JulieLou40
Why am I not surprised? The terrorists are probably rubbing their hands together in glee right now.
10:13 December 6, 2011 by Birger Johansson
Since I remember the idiocy after the murder of Olof Palme, I am not surprised either.
10:30 December 6, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
Sweden you need to grow up fast. We live in modern times. London learn''t the hard way from the IRA attacks in the 80s and 90s. By the time the 7/7 bombers attacked London, they had CCTV footage of the 4 perps from camera's as far away as Luton.

Only the guilty need fear them.
10:41 December 6, 2011 by big5
What complete buffoons. Unbelievable how ignorant the Swedish police are, and how arrogant they are, not to listen to a humble shopkeeper who knows MORE THAN THEY DO!
11:33 December 6, 2011 by RobinHood
The Swedish police force, particularly the Stockholm branch, are an incompetent lot. Fettered by ridiculous Swedish law, moral is rock bottom, cynicism is rife, and recruits are usually from the lower end of the intelligence scale. If they do manage to arrest and convict anybody, the courts release them with a ridiculously short sentence. Investigation priorities are dictated by politicians, so hate crimes against Jews in Malmö, and a racially motivated serial killer running loose, also in Malmö, are ignored, and vast resources are spent investigating the highly dubious Assange case. They are not allowed to issue descriptions of wanted suspects for fear of appearing racist, so their attitude is "why bother?"

Policemen and women forget their guns in IKEA, get caught on tape making racist and sexist comments, bully and beat anyone they dislike (including a disabled man in Gothenburg earlier this year), shoot clips of 9mm hollow tipped ammo randomly into crowds of demonstrators, and generally shoot anyone who appears to be a threat without trying to solve the problem in less fatal ways. Any investigation into police incompetence or bad behaviour usually ends in the policemen being found to have acted properly. Most of them spend most of their time staking out prostitutes in huge surveilance teams, or raiding homes of people they suspect might have pet hedgehogs. Properly investigating an act of terrorism is way above their paygrade.
11:41 December 6, 2011 by spo10
All of us could have benefited from that video. It is very important for the police to know whether or not he got accomplices. HUGE mistake!
13:28 December 6, 2011 by godnatt
What the hell is wrong with these clowns?

Too busy writing traffic tickets to watch the tape?
14:48 December 6, 2011 by Frobobbles
No surprise here - swedish police knew about the attack beforehand. In swedish defence, a warning was acitve hours before the attack not to go near the place.
16:36 December 6, 2011 by Borilla
@Frobobbles -The police did not go near the area. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the public. But how could this be correct when today's DN says SAPO didn't know about this guy?

@ Big5 and Robinhood

I don't always agree with you but you are correct this time. Stockholm (and other metropolitan) police are unprofessional. Sadly, they still act like village police, a small village at that. Anything beyond directing traffic or roughing-up the people they don't like and they are out of their depth. With a power structure that will not let them do their job (if they do try) Swedes are quite lucky they country is as safe as it is. No wonder people tell newcomers that if they want the police to respond to someone breaking into their home, the homeowner has to threaten to kill the intruder.
00:41 December 7, 2011 by GLO
Are you Kidding!!!!!
20:21 December 7, 2011 by big5
"No wonder people tell newcomers that if they want the police to respond to someone breaking into their home, the homeowner has to threaten to kill the intruder."

Good tip! I'll remember that.
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