The Daily Telegraph

Do the security services have the resources to guard against peripheral figures planning terror?


SIR – The Prime Minister has spoken eloquently since the Westminste­r butchery. That the perpetrato­r was a “peripheral” figure and “not part of the current intelligen­ce picture” is, though, of acute concern rather than reassuranc­e. It means the number of potential terrorists is so much the greater, as are the chances of further outrages.

Will the security services now be extending their surveillan­ce to cover peripheral figures? And do they have the resources to do so? I suspect the answer to both questions is: No. Derrick Gillingham London SW1 SIR – The British attitude to acts of terrorism is summed up by Churchill’s rhetorical question of 1941: “What kind of a people do they think we are?” Nicholas Young London W13 SIR – People reacted to this terrorist act by a lone knife-wielder as if they had just confronted the Luftwaffe. They talked of their own courage and said that these acts would not divert them from democracy and tolerance, as they were intended to do. They would have a cup of tea and carry on, patting themselves on the back, with a show of unity in the House of Commons.

I don’t want to belittle the tragedies inflicted, or the courage of unarmed policemen, but, please, enough! This was a lone man among 60 million. Andre Schulman Cape Town, South Africa SIR – Seeing the police in London this week has been a tonic. I felt far safer. We don’t need Big Brother cameras. Neil Crammond Oxted, Surrey SIR –GE Green (Letters, March 24) suggests that an airlock-type vehicular entry system would solve the problem of access to the Houses of Parliament.

But it creates another security headache. While one vehicle is in the airlock, others would have to queue as, one by one, they are let in. The process would be slow. MPs and ministers in the queue would then be sitting ducks should any terrorist get close to these stationary cars in Parliament Square. Richard Lyon Cambridge SIR – Thanks are due to John Harwood (Letters, March 24) for pointing out the usual manner of treating firearms officers when they use a weapon. I agree that the officer in this case should instead receive an award. Janet Pender-Cudlip Reepham, Norfolk SIR – I notice that Jeremy Corbyn was not hustled out of the House on Wednesday. Carole Cronin Chelmsford, Essex SIR – Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob (Letters, March 24) says: “It is time for the vast silent majority of Muslims to stand up and speak up against heinous atrocities committed under the rubric of Islam.” Many will agree with him; but will that be enough? It is not for a non-Muslim to suggest what else Muslims might do to deter those who, by acts of indiscrimi­nate murder, portray their religion as one of violence. We all hope and pray, however, that they succeed in stamping out terrorism wherever it appears. Richard Shaw Dunstable, Bedfordshi­re SIR – Are there studies into how minds become infected with a satanic fervour that convinces them the route to fame and heaven is through indiscrimi­nate slaughter? What sort of minds are more open to this perversion? If we found out more we might suffer less. Alexander Hopkinson-Woolley Bembridge, Isle of Wight SIR – Whenever I read of acts of violence I remind myself that for every one of these there are thousands of acts of kindness which never make the front page. Bernard Powell Southport, Lancashire

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