Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Reading terror attack: Threat of lone actors surging says Patel as she hails police heroes

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Home Secretary Priti Patel addressed the House of Commons on Monday afternoon and reflected on the terrorist attack on Saturday evening in a park in Reading. The attack saw three innocent members of the public killed with others injured. An individual was arrested at the park on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody. 

Ms Patel praised the work of the emergency responders and the police officer who tackled the attacker to the ground while also warning of a growing trend in lone attacker terrorists.

Ms Patel told MPs in the Commons: “Police have confirmed that the threat is contained but that sadly three innocent members of the public were killed, murdered by a sudden and savage knife attacker as they enjoyed a summer evening with friends.

“Another three victims were injured and received hospital treatment.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of everyone who was hurt or killed as a result of this sickening attack.

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“The Victim of Terrorism Unit at the Home Office and family liaison officers are supporting them and I know honourable members across the House will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences.”

Ms Patel continued by praising the quick thinking and selflessness of the police who acted decisively on the scene.

She added: “I had the privilege of meeting the officers who first responded to the incident and who were responsible for apprehending the suspect as well as trying to prevent the further loss of life.

“These officers, a few of whom were student officers, ran towards danger to help those in need without a second thought.

“A young, unarmed police officer took down the suspect without hesitation while another performed emergency first aid to those who were injured.

“These officers are heroes. They showed courage, bravery and selflessness way beyond their years.

“They are the very best of us.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the response of every emergency service that attended the scene as well as members of the public who stepped in to prevent further loss of life.”

Ms Patel also made a daunting admission, the threat posed by lone actors is growing.

She said: “The United Kingdom has the best security service and police in the world.

Since 2017 they have foiled 25 terrorist plots including eight driven by right-wing ideologies.

“They serve the country with professionalism and courage, embodying what the British public rightfully expect from those on the front line of the battle against violent extremists and terrorists.

“The UK’s counter-terrorism strategy remains one of the most comprehensive approaches to countering terrorism in the world.

“But we have all too often seen the results of poisonous extremist ideology. The terrorist threat that we face is complex, diverse and rapidly changing.

“It is clear that the threat posed by lone actors is growing.”

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