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The Council of Europe publishes its report – 2nd May Odessa

November 5, 2015

The Council of Europe has eventually, a few weeks later than expected, delivered its report into the events surrounding and following the tragic events that occurred in Odessa on 2nd May last year.

There will be some that take issue with some of the findings – there always are.  There will be some that simply dismiss it – there always are.  Others will accept it unquestioningly – there are always those that do.

Whatever the case however, the report is an overarching, quite damning indictment of the Institutions of State in Odessa and nationally both prior to, during, and after that fateful day.  That is something almost all will agree with.

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Thus there will be those fixated upon the detail and whether it matches their perceptions of events, and there will be those stunned and transfixed by the systemic and grotesque failures of the State.

All such issues concentrate minds – and rightly so.

There are however other equally important questions to be asked – and amongst those questions must be, what if it happened again?

Whether in Odessa or elsewhere in Ukraine, what lessons have been learned?

How have any policing plans been modified to be far more robust and useful in preparation (intelligence allowing), during such an event, and with post event investigations and accountability?

Have metropolitan emergency plans been overhauled?  Has any GAP analysis occurred?  Have any plans (modified or otherwise) been practiced by both management and by way of deployment?

Is there a clear management structure?  Gold, silver and bronze command?  Identified emergency incident committee members are nominated – or not?

How does any public disorder policing plan fit together with an counter-terrorism plan – or does it fit at all?

Are there competent experts and investigators easily contactable?  If so, have they trained together?  Has anybody and/or everybody got to grips with crime scene protection and evidence chain integrity – particularly amongst the “first officer responding” ranks?

If Odessa under its new Police Chief has got to grips with these operational and investigative functions, has there been any form of “knowledge share” with other cities?  If the city hasn’t got to grips with such issues – why hasn’t it?

(Which then leads to questions about whether there is an operational plan for an explosion at Odessa Port Side, or an aircraft crashing at Odessa Airport?  If so, has it been practiced, when was it last practiced etc?  There probably are, but when was the dust last blown off them?  Are they still fit for purpose?)

It may seem somewhat dismissive of the (expectedly) dismal contents of the Council of Europe report to be asking questions of the future upon the day of its official publication and when such a report concentrates minds upon the tragic and grotesquely negligent events of the past, but such questions of the future have equal weight when using the report as a foundation for contemplation.

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