Streatham attack shows clear policy failure

How Streatham attack unfolded

Shocking scenes as a man was shot dead outside a Boots chemists in Streatham when several armed undercover officers plunged on him.
Filmed by a witness from a moving bus, the footage shows the men in jeans, trainers and hoodies pointing their firearms at Sudesh Amman’s convulsing body yesterday.

One of the officers kicks away a knife on the pavement before backing off. Third officer skids on to the scene on a blue motorbike while other onlookers away from the scene shouting: ‘Getaway.’
As the bus drives on, it passes two victims lying on the pavement. Two innocent bystanders, a man and a woman, had been stabbed in broad daylight in front of dozens of shocked eyewitnesses on a very busy South London’s shopping streets.
Next to one of the victims, a pushchair was abandoned on the pavement in Streatham as some people desperately provide first aid. Fearing an explosion from the attacker’s ‘suicide vest’, many people had been ordered to take refuge behind the closed shutters of Boots and the WHSmith store on Streatham High rd.

In the Life Cafe, diners enjoying lunch were unaware of the facts until a police officer burst in. He shouted: ‘We’ve got to evacuate. There’s been a terrorist incident… If you want to stay safe, you’ll listen to me.’
Asked by a waitress if they could have half-an-hour to finish their meals, his response was clear: ‘Madam; a terrorist has been shot dead just down there.
‘They’ve got a possible IED vest on them, which is a bomb. If you want to stay open for half-an-hour and you want to put people’s lives in danger, be my guest.’ People in the nearby Odeon cinema were, mid-way through their films, evacuated by police.
Witnesses said the attack started when the terrorist, later revealed to be 20-year-old Amman, walked into the hardware shop to steal his weapon, a £3.99 kitchen knife.
Jagmon Singh, the shopkeeper, watched the attacker pluck the knife off the shelf and take the packaging off. Believing him to be a shoplifter, he attempted to grapple it off him.
A nurse who witnessed the horror said: ‘The shopkeeper tried to get the knife from him, but he got away and stabbed a woman on a bicycle,’ – ‘The knife was really big.’
The female victim, said to be in her 40s, was stabbed along with a man outside the nearby White Lion pub.

Was it expected to happen?

Two months ago a think tank warned that terrorist Sudesh Amman was up for early release before he was ultimately freed and launched the attack in London yesterday.
The 20-year-old extremist was shot dead by police in Streatham, South London, a mile from his bail hostel in Leigham Court Rd, on Sunday afternoon at about 2 pm after he, with horrific violence, stabbed two people.

Amman had been sentenced for three years and four months in December 2018, when he pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing terrorist papers including bomb-making handbooks and knife fighting guides. Despite fears he still held extremist views, he was released in January 2020.
A spokesperson of the Henry Jackson Society today said that Amman would have been one of the ‘top five’ considered by British security forces, as reported by the Mailonline.

For the second time in just over three months, London has been the scene of a terrorist attack, with two injured and a third in critical condition after the knife attack in Streatham. Adding to the undesirable degree of familiarity is the fact that the perpetrator, had been recently released from prison having been convicted of terror crimes, much like in November’s attack in London Bridge, when the perpetrator was on day release. 

What we must learn from Streatham attack

The London Bridge and Streatham attacks are parts of one story where the government has, apparently, a clear answer. People have been let out of prison too soon with too little oversight. And a precise solution, with a combination of measures, announced last year, which will be put into legislation over the following weeks. But as Louise Haigh, the shadow policing minister pointed out on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour last night, what happens inside British prisons is as big a concern as the speed in which people leave them. There is every possibility that the attacker left prison “more dangerous” than he went in the first place. The narrative of both the London Bridge and Streatham attacks is a failure of deradicalisation programmes in prison. Still, the story of the next terror attack may well be a story of the radicalisation that goes on inside of prisons.