Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, has tweeted that the government “need to listen to police chiefs who say a lack of resources to policing and the criminal justice system puts us all in danger”.
“We need the proper resources to monitor convicted terrorists,” she said.
Observer reporter Nosheen Iqbal has been speaking to people in Stoke-on-Trent.
At zohr prayers on Saturday lunchtime outside a small white and green mosque in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, dozens of men and women in puffa jackets, heavy coats and kurtas gathered in the car park , unable to fit into the single storey building for the funeral taking place inside. “One of our community elders has passed, it’s a massive death,” explained a young, softly-spoken man in his twenties who didn’t want to give his name. He grew up with Usman Khan, whose family live in a terraced cul-de-sac around the corner.
The congregation was unusually subdued, making the street eerily quiet. “He grew up in our ends, we grew up on the same streets, we know every single one of his brothers and sisters, his mum and dad, we went to primary school and high school with him.”
A murmur of disquiet rippled among the older parents behind him, who asked their community to be left alone. “It’s a difficult time and nobody wants to talk about it to journalists because we don’t want to be associated with what happened in London,” said the young man apologetically. “We don’t understand how [Khan] ended up like this. How can you have a person who went to prison for extremism and terror and then he’s let out and he’s got a tag on and ends up back inLondonto do this? How? Why? ”
Home Secretary Priti Patel has blamed the previous Labor government for the fact that Usman Khan was free to carry out the attack at (London) ************** (Bridge.)
Patel took to Twitter to respond to Labor’s Yvette Cooper, who had posted a series of tweets asking how the London Bridge attacker could have been released when he was deemed so dangerous.
The Home Secretary responded:
Because legislation brought in by your government in 2008 meant that dangerous terrorists had to automatically be released after half of their jail term. Conservatives changed the law in 2012 to end your automatic release policy but Khan was convicted before this.
Patel then posted a link to a news article and tweeted: “The Parole Board could not be involved in this decision [Jeremy Corbyn]. Your party changed the law in 2008 so that Khan was automatically released irrespective of the danger he posed . Very concerning that you want to be PM but don’t understand this. ”
The Parole Board said it had no involvement in his release and that Khan “appears to have been released automatically on license” halfway through his sentence.
Government holds emergency Cobra meeting
Downing Street said government officials, police and security officials held a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee on Saturday afternoon. A spokesperson said that the prime minister would receive further updates from security officials this evening and tomorrow morning.
TheBBC has this clipof Usman Khan speaking after his address was raided by anti-terror police in 2008. He later admitted being involved in a terrorist conspiracy.
Khan denies that he is a terrorist, saying he is “born and bred in England”. “All the community knows me and they will know, if you ask them, they will know. These labels that they will put on us like terrorist … they will know. I ain’t no terrorist, ”he says.
Police say no evidence anybody else was involved in attack
Met assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Neil Basu, has been speaking to the press outside New Scotland Yard. He said there was no evidence that anybody else was involved in the attack.
At this time we have found no evidence, no evidence to suggest that anybody else was involved in this attack. However, we’re still making extensive enquiries to make sure nobody else was involved.
Usman Khan was underthe MAPPA– multi-agency public protection arrangements – at the time and “there was an extensive list of license conditions”, said Basu. “To the best of my knowledge he was compliant with those conditions”.
He said police had carried out two searches in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The attack started just before 2pm in Fishmongers’ Hall yesterday, said Basu. “The attacker, whose identity we confirmed last night, stabbed a number of people inside the building and as a result five people have suffered injuries. Three people, a man and two women, are injured and remain in hospital. ”
He repeated that a man and a woman had been killed in the attack. “Of course I am fully aware that the media and social media have named one of those victims. You must understand that I have to wait for formal identification from the coroner, but I will provide you with an update as soon as I can, ”he said.
Basu said that the attacker was attending the event, called Learning Together, before he stabbed a number of people. He then left the building and went ontoLondonBridge, where he was pursued and detained by members of the public, as well as a plain clothed officer from the British Transport Police. Armed officers from both the City and Met polices then shot the attacker.
He was wearing what “looked like a very convincing explosive device”. “Thankfully we now know that was a hoax device,” he said.
Updated (at 00 PM EST
My colleague Molly Blackall has been at the scene of the attack today.
Tony Fitzgerald, 50, walked past the TV cameras stationed at the base of the bridge carrying a bunch of flowers. “There’s only one bunch of flowers other than my bunch,” he said, visibly upset. “Where is everyone? I thought it would be packed with flowers, but you can’t see anyone. I’ve come all the way from Essex to be here, I couldn’t sleep last night because it makes me sick. ”
Imams left the first bunch of flowers at the site early this morning, and later joined Fitzgerald at the bridge where they shared an embrace. “When we arrived this morning, there were no flowers, nothing,” Mansoor Clarke said. “We thought it’d be appropriate that for an act done in the name of Islam, we were the first to lay flowers.”
His fellow imam, Sabah Ahmedi, said: “The word Islam actually means peace, so when you have a Muslim terrorist, it’s an oxymoron because it translates to peaceful terrorist.” We wanted to stand in solidarity with Londoners, and really the whole of humanity, and we’ve found a community here in our shared grief, ”he added.
Fitzgerald said: “My family are Irish, and Irish people shouldn’t be blamed for the IRA, so why should Muslims be blamed for this?”
Condition of critically injured victim has improved
NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, has said that the condition of aLondonBridge victim who was critically injured has improved. “While three people remain in hospital, this means two are now stable and a third has less serious injuries,” he said.
While the NHS is now dealing with immediate physical injuries, the psychological impact of such events sometimes only comes to light in the days and weeks afterwards. Those caught up in the attack – supported by their friends and loved ones – can access NHS advice and support, in the first instance through calling NHS 111 and the NHS website and from specialist services if needed.
Updated (at) . 29 am EST
British Transport policehave confirmedthat a man in a suit filmed running away from the scene with a knife taken from the attacker was one of their officers in plain clothes.
We are able to confirm that a serving British Transport Police officer was involved in yesterday’s terror incident on London Bridge in the City of London. The officer, who was in plain clothes and who is based in London, helped other members of the public in detaining the suspect and preventing any further killings. He is seen in social media videos, holding a knife and walking away from the scene as City ofLondonfirearms officers arrive.
The Metropolitan police service have asked that his image be pixelated, and we are kindly asking the public and media to respect this request and not identify the officer in any way.
Chief constable Paul Crowther from British Transport Police, said:
This morning I spoke with the British Transport Police officer who bravely ran towards danger yesterday afternoon. The courageous actions he took when faced with the horrors of this attack are remarkable. He, as well as other members of the public, should be extremely proud of what they did to stop this man on London Bridge.
You can read the whole story about the comments from Usman Khan’s lawyer here.
Lawyer Vajahat Sharif said Khan, whom he last spoke to in March, was released to a bail hostel from where he had to report to a police station every day, had interactions with the probation service and had to wear a tag.
In prison he begin to realize his Islamic thinking was not correct; he accepted that. He criticized the al-Qaida ideology and violent extremism. He did recognize that his Islamic understanding was incomplete. A lot of these characters pick and choose from different sermons, it’s like an echo chamber.
Sharif said the policy for terrorist prisoners needed to change to boost efforts to turn them away from supporting ideologies that incite violence: “There is a flaw in the policy. You should have substantial ideological evaluation of these individuals before they are released on license. ”
In a series of tweets, Jack Merritt’s father warned that he did not want his son’s death to be used as an excuse to introduce “more draconian” sentences. He wrote:
My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily. R.I.P. Jack: you were a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog.[…] Cambridge lost a proud son and a champion for underdogs everywhere, but especially those dealt a losing hand by life, who ended up in the prison system.
First victim named as Jack Merritt
One of the victims has been named in reports as Jack Merritt, who worked as a co-ordinator for Learning Together, a prisoner rehabilitation initiative run by the University’s Institute of Criminology, which organized the conference at which the attack started.
Cambridgeshire Live is quoting from a tweet, sent by Merritt’s father, David, in which he pays tribute to his son. “You were a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog,” he said.