St. Petersburg security service and police may face negligence accusation

St. Petersburg security service and police may face negligence accusation
Antiterrorist system worth hundreds of millions of rubles let a single terrorist in the metro

The terrorist act in the St. Petersburg metro made many people think about how hundreds of millions of rubles of public funds were spent if the system of antiterrorist protection of the underground turned out to be helpless against a single terrorist who safely carried two homemade bombs through metal detectors into the underground.⁠

Deputies of St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly required the city government and governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko to report on the public funds spent on ensuring security in the metro in recent years.

It is known that at the end of 2015 Smolny spent about 60 million rubles (about $1m) to buy arch metal detectors from Moscow ZAO Modern Scientific Technologies. At present 325 of them are installed in the ticket hall areas of the St. Petersburg metro.

Parliamentarians ask to provide information on the effectiveness of this equipment and to report how many attempts of terrorist attacks have been prevented at the expense of the purchased equipment.

Kommersant notes that representatives of two opposition factions – A Just Russia and Yabloko made such a demand.

The investigation assumes that the attack became possible due to negligence of the security officers of the underground and the police, who must monitor the indications of metal detectors installed at the entrances to the metro.

As specified in the departmental instructions, law enforcement officers and security officers should identify suspicious persons among passengers according to equipment indications and appearance, conduct preventive talks with them and inspect them more closely.

However the records of the external surveillance cameras helped the investigation establish that it was 22-year-old suicide bomber Akbarzhon Dzhalilov who carried the two explosive devices to the metro, his name was mentioned by the Investigative Committee on April, 4. According to the preliminary investigation, the terrorist acted alone.

Presumably, having received instructions from the members of the Islamic State (ISIL is a prohibited organization in the territory of the Russian Federation), Dzhalilov made two homemade explosive devices using ammonium nitrate, old automobile fire extinguishers and steel balls for bearings as projectiles.

The publication reports that a functioning metal detector could not fail to work when carrying two fire extinguishers with steel balls and explosives inside. Even a non-expert would be able to establish that it was a bomb during inspection.

It should be noted that according to Vladimir Garyugin, the Head of the St. Petersburg metro, during 2016 about 10,000 banned objects were identified with the help of metal detectors. At the same time, Garyugin says that it is impossible to provide the same high level of passengers’ screening as at Pulkovo airport, since this would bring the work of the metro carrying about 2 million passengers a day to a standstill.

The terrorist attack in St. Petersburg on April 3, 2017 killed 14 people. Another 50 passengers were injured.

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