Yesterday’s events at London Bridge were first and foremost a terrible tragedy. Two innocent people lost their lives in what police believe was a terrorist attack in the capital.
However, while all the details of what happened just after lunchtime yesterday have yet to fully emerge, those who have viewed footage on television or on social media will also be aware of the remarkable part that members of the public played in stopping the attacker.
While a police armed response team eventually shot the attacker dead, it was members of the public who were shown to have apprehended the terrorist. Indeed, footage shows a civilian walking away having successfully removed a knife from the terrorist’s grasp.
The official advice in such situations is to get away from such attackers and to contact the police so the members of the public on London Bridge who confronted the attacker and removed his weapon did a very brave thing.
Yesterday’s attack felt like a bolt from the blue. After a spate of such attacks in 2017, including a previous atrocity on London Bridge, Britain’s anti-terrorist teams appeared to be thwarting many of the extremist attacks before they happened. However, the reality is that no matter how effective our security services are, and how good their intelligence is, a terror threat can never be eliminated entirely, especially in cases where a terrorist acts alone, as appears to have been the case yesterday.