Cops face ques­tions over ‘lapse in se­cu­rity’

New Straits Times - - World -

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.

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