Cops face questions over ‘lapse in security’
LONDON: Police were facing serious questions over how a knifewielding terrorist was able to enter the Parliamentary estate on Wednesday.
There were unverified claims that no armed officers had been on duty at the main Carriage Gates, facing Parliament Square, which the prime minister uses to enter the House of Commons.
They are also used by other members of parliament, staff and visitors. At least four officers are usually stationed at the gates, two outside and two inside.
The entrance is also blocked by metal barricades and barriers. Although armed guards routinely patrol the grounds, they are not stationed permanently at a fixed position at the main gate. It is understood the officers work a “fluid” patrol pattern so that potential terrorists do not know where they are located.
Labour MP Mary Creagh urged the authorities to step up security following the atrocity.
“The one weak spot on our estate is those Carriage Gates,” she said.
“We have four police officers there. Two on the gate going in, two on the gate going out. We see them every day, we’re friends with lots of them.
“I think we will need to look at security at the Palace in the wake of this incident. It’s a terrible, terrible day for Parliament.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of UK forces and a security expert, said: “He shouldn’t have been able to get in. This shows there must have been a lapse in security with big consequences. People will have questions to answer.
“It is such a high-profile target and they should consider there is permanent coverage of armed police at the main gates. This should not have happened. There’s been an element of complacency because the security services have been so effective. Lessons have to be learnt.”
Experts have warned of the threat posed by extremists carrying out unsophisticated but deadly attacks using knives or vehicles as weapons.