The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2014 is a prime example of why police should never be in charge of physical security. While police has a very useful and specialized skillset, physical security is seldom a part of that skillset, something that is proven again and again. As the video shows, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony was disrupted by a rather soft spoken, well dressed and comparatively polite young man, who wanted more than anything to get across his message.
This could have so easily been a much, much worse scanrio, especially considering the volatile nature of the prize and the background of the winner in 2014. There were surely a lot of people tearing their hair in frustration that they didn’t nab the chance to do what the peaceful mexican protester did, only with the aim to harm or kill the peace prize winner. So what went wrong?
– Checkpoint security is an art, and during Hillary Clinton’s visit to Oslo, the Oslo police department realized that they lacked some key components in their checkpoint security competenncy. That time, they assigned a privately trained security officer, experienced in handling checkpoints to operate the x-ray scanning equipment and set up the checkpoint visitors had to go through. While it’s uncertain if they did the same for the peace prize ceremony, it is clear that another department of the Norwegian law enforcement system had the ultimate responsibility.
– Physical security is hardly ever the focus in any police operation. That is why the individual who “crashed” the ceremony was able to pull one of the absolutely most basic tricks in the book – pose as part of a larger group to avoid scrutiny. Instead of having individual tickets and credentials checked, police ushered whole groups of people into the venue.
– One man, no ticket, no ID, not a Norwegian national, carrying his means of communication with him (further evidence of checkpoint security failures) was able to penetrate a venue containing some of the world’s top dignitaries by walking straight inside, and then make his way to the front of the stage where the ceremony was being held.
– Police personell did not react when the man approached and entered the stage. The first to react was a former Norwegian prime minister, foreign affairs minister and president of parliament. The protester was on stage for several seconds, and even managed to approach the peace prize winner.
Lessons learned seem to be scarce, and there has been no reports of repercussions for the personell involved in the Nobel Peace Prize security detail and planning.