That’s the question everyone in France is asking, especially after the government were forced to admit this week that security measures taken on the night of the truck attack were not at the level they had first suggested.
It emerged this week that French police asked authorities in the city of Nice to destroy CCTV footage that captured last week’s truck attack that killed 84 people. In all 24 hours of footage were asked to be wiped from memory cards.
In the request the anti-terror police in Paris ask Nice to “proceed with the complete destruction of footage from all cameras used on the Promenade des Anglais,” where the carnage took place on July 14.
Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel rammed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd along the promenade after a Bastille Day fireworks display.
He was subsequently shot dead by police.
The request, dated July 20, concerns “all copies of footage of the crime scene created outside of the investigation”.
The official explanation is that the police aimed to prevent dissemination of the “profoundly shocking” images.
“These images are sealed evidence (to be used only) for the purposes of the investigation,” the source added.
But with a probe having been launched into the police operation on the night to examine just how the truck was able to get onto the Promenade des Anglais, many have questioned whether the government are trying to cover up their failings.
There were worries that the images of destruction and death could have ended up in the hands of jihadist groups and used as propaganda, which would clearly be distressing for the government, not to mention the families of the victims and the people of Nice.
Legal sources have been at pains to tell the French press there is nothing sinister behind the request to delete images that investigators have already copied.
“These images are extremely shocking. They are of an extreme violence that if published would be against the dignity and integrity of the victims,” a judicial source told L’Express magazine.
A lawyer for the city of Nice, which is run by the opposition Republicans party, said the request was problematic because it involved tampering with evidence.
Lawyer Philippe Blanchetier said the images would normally be automatically deleted after 10 days.
Various reports in France on Friday said Town Hall authorities in Nice will refuse to delete the images.