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Former Counter-Terror Investigator Says Gov't Response Could Hurt Skripal Probe

© REUTERS / Toby MelvillePolice officers seal off the road on which Russian Sergei Skripal lives in Salisbury, Britain, March 7, 2018
Police officers seal off the road on which Russian Sergei Skripal lives in Salisbury, Britain, March 7, 2018 - Sputnik International
Former counter-terrorism investigator and author David Videcette has told Sputnik that the British Government's decision to accuse the Russian government of the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter may prevent the investigation from unmasking the culprits.

Sputnik: What is your assessment of how the investigation into the Skripal poisoning has been handled?

David Videcette: I think the police are going through the motions they normally would do. There are only a limited number of officers trained to retrieve contaminated evidence. That will naturally be slowing the police investigation down to a snail's pace. So things will probably be taking four or five times longer than they would in normal circumstances.

READ MORE: MI5 Ex-Officer on Skripal Poisoning: Media Have Been Running the Whole 'Russians Did it' Since This Story Broke

In terms of the police investigation I think it hasn't progressed probably as fast as it should have done because of the issue of the contamination. They've got to probably decontaminate all of the exhibits before they can actually do any forensic work on them. The difficulty is that the decontamination might destroy any evidence they might get from it.

Sputnik: Are there particular aspects of the response that you take issue with?

David Videcette: The issue I do have is that the government is going down the road of blaming the Russian state for what happened and I think that is particularly damaging for the police investigation. Quite clearly the police haven't got the information that they need, they probably need to contact counterparts in Russia. It would be extremely helpful if the Russians were to be playing ball. If the Russians were talking to the police investigation, it would obviously make the police investigation much easier but my main issue is that the government, because this barrier has been put in the way and the Russians are being accused before there's even evidence to do so, I think that's going to cause lots of problems for the investigation.

READ MORE: Lavrov: UK Rejects Russia's Demand on Granting Access to Skripal Case Docs

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My main issue is not with the police investigation, I think they will do their job well, they're very good at it. My issue is that the government has got a particular agenda and it's going to build walls and barriers that the police may not be able to overcome and it will massively hinder the investigation. Whatever the substance is and we still don't really know what it is, has somebody given that substance to the daughter in a package and she's brought it over? Is it unwittingly that she's brought it over or is she complicit in something? These are all questions that we need to know the answer to but without being able to speak to somebody in Russia and without being able to go and get this information from Russia, it's going to make the police investigation nigh on impossible.

As an expert in the field, is there anything about the way in which this attempted murder was carried out that would suggest, if not who was behind it, what kind of perpetrators were behind it?

David Videcette: I think we need to keep an open mind about who did this and why. There are a whole host of motives and we need to be open to the fact that it could be a rogue element of the Russian state, it might be somebody that Skripal or his daughter have upset as a result of their activities with the British in 2004/2005 when they were spying for us. It could well be that there's elements within the Russian state who are very, very upset about people that have died as the result of information that he'd given, it could be a very personal issue. There's a whole host of motives that could be at play here.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

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