A senior French police officer in charge of security cameras in Nice has said she was pressured to change her report on the terror attack the Ministry of Interior.

Police officer Sandra Bertin said she had been told to report the presence of more national police units at the Promenade des Anglais than she was able to see when she examined the CCTV footage.

National police carry heavy weapons, which would have been able to shoot out the tyres of the van and stop it ploughing through crowds.

But these more heavily armed units were replaced by local police who only carry light pistols, not able to shoot through the tyres of 19 tonne trucks, she said

“It was going at 90km/h without lights … It dodged the municipal police barrier. The team couldn’t stop it. You can’t burst the tyres of a 19-tonner with a revolver. Then other municipal police in plainclothes in the crowd were confronted with it,” she said.

“If they’d been armed like our national police colleagues have demanded, they could have stopped it. Finally the lorry came to the national police who shot and neutralised it.”

The light revolvers carried by the police on duty explains why the tyres of the van were not shot to pieces, as this blog has noted, and why police had to stand directly in front of the van to shoot through the windscreen.

Bertin said she was visited by two officials who claimed to be representing the Ministry of Interior and who later emerged to be working for subunits. She said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve attempted to pressure her for an hour to report the presence of more heavily armed police. Finally, she was asked to send her report in a form that could be changed.

The Interior Ministry says there were 64 members of the national police on the seafront but this is disputed by the Nice city hall, fuelling fears of a cover up of a stand down to allow the attack to happen.

In addition, France’s anti terrorist unit, the SDAT asked for all the CCTV footage of the attack to be erased.

The SDAT ordered the Nice officials to destroy all the video footage from  14. Juli 2016 from 22:30 hrs until 15. Juli 2016 18:00 hrs covering the attack, specifying six surveillance cameras in particular.

The mayor of Nice has refused to follow the order.

Cazeneuve has filed a libel lawsuit against Bertin in a move that will not surprise readers of this blog.

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