Streatham terror attack: London mayoral candidates agree public must feel safe on city’s streets

By Tom Holmes and Samuel Draper
February 03 2020, 14.45

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has expressed his anger at the government’s handling of convicted terrorists following yesterday’s incident in Streatham.

Mr Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What makes me angry is we were speaking probably three months ago about the London Bridge attack.

“In my view, both these attacks were both foreseeable and preventable.

“I’m angry because some of the reassurances we were given by the government in November haven’t been realised.”

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Khan said: “I want to thank our police, security and emergency services staff for their swift and courageous response. They truly are the best of us.

“Terrorists seek to divide us and to destroy our way of life – here in London we will never let them succeed.”

Speaking at the scene in where three people were injured yesterday, independent mayoral candidate Rory Stewart told South West Londoner: “There’s a real human impact. There are brave members of the public who ran to help, and they saw things that will haunt them, and it’s something that worries communities.

“Streatham is a very peaceful area that people here are rightly very proud of, and what we mustn’t allow is for this to define the identity of Streatham.

“There are lessons for broader London and the way we think about terrorist attacks and the police.

“The Mayor of London is the Police and Crime Commissioner for London, and responsible for writing the plan for the Metropolitan Police and controls the budget and sets the priorities.

“If I was Mayor of London, it would be absolutely central to my responsibility and the commitments that I make to the public.

“We need to make London in general more safe from violent crime, from knife crime to muggings, but also in relation to terrorism and the way in which the mayor works to join the police, prison and probation systems up.” 

Speaking to Bloomberg, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita thanked the police for preventing a bigger attack, but called for an end to automatic early release for terrorists whilst they still threaten society.

She said: “Londoners must absolutely feel safe and be safe going around their daily lives. We need urgent changes to our current laws to make sure these types of people are not allowed out while they can do harm to the public.

“We need to address that and look at the way terrorists are treated in prison. Rehabilitation is definitely not working.

“The public’s safety has to be paramount. There are too many instances now where we are seeing these things happening on the streets of London and that can’t be right.”

Policing and security is an important issue for candidates in the mayoral election on May 7th, and many have revealed gratitude to the police for the way they handled Sunday’s incident.

Following November’s London Bridge attack, the government said it was going to change the way it handled those freed from prison after serving time for terror convictions.

More than 70 people convicted of a terrorist offence have been released after serving time in prison.

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