Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 6, 2005

UK creates rapid-response victim identification force

Filed under: International HLS,Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on December 6, 2005

From the Times of London:

British police want to set up the world’s first rapid-response team to identify victims of terror attacks and natural disasters around the world, based on their successful operation after the Boxing Day tsunami….

The extraordinary scientific jigsaw pieced together by police to identify British holidaymakers killed by the tidal wave will be revealed for the first time today at the opening of a mass inquest for 93 victims. Officers will describe their pioneering role in what is the world’s biggest missing persons investigation.

Some of the experts sent to devastated tourist resorts were called on to help in the forensic investigation into the July 7 bombings in London. Others were sent to New Orleans to lend their expertise after Hurricane Katrina.

So much has been learnt by these investigators that British officers have held talks about setting up a task force that can be sent anywhere there are mass casualties…

This is exactly the kind of thing that governments around the world should be doing after natural disasters or terrorist attacks: learning lessons, sharing best practices, and building bridges between different nations’ response systems and capabilities.

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