OUR thoughts and prayers are with families mourning loved ones killed in yesterday’s carnage which unfolded with terrifying speed outside the Palace of Westminster; those innocent bystanders left seriously injured and all those who came to the assistance of the victims.
Exactly one year after the devastating attacks in Brussels which were an assault on Western values, and the heightened state of security that has existed in Britain since the July 7 suicide bombings in 2005, the police were duty-bound to treat these shocking events as terrorism-related.
Though it’s important not to jump to conclusions about the motives, or affiliation, of the perpetrators, the fact that a so-called ‘lone wolf’ armed assailant can cause so much mayhem – and bring the beating heart of Britain’s democracy to a standstill – is a stark reminder of the thankless task which confronts the security services daily.
Their job has never been more invidious. Though they have thwarted 13 terror attacks in the UK since 2013, Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, disclosed earlier this month that more than 500 investigations are currently active and a major emergency planning exercise took place on the river Thames in London as recently as Sunday.
An attack like this is not just an assault on individuals, on the police, on Government, on security, but is an attack on our way of life in Britain.
Despite having an MP killed on our own streets here in West Yorkshire, despite the London bombings, we have a stoic determination not to let such horrific events alter our belief in an open, safe and free way of life. This was epitomised by the announcement, just hours after this sickening attack, that Parliament would sit as normal today in defiance of those that were responsible for these murders.
Yesterday’s events are a stark reminder to us that those who are charged with keeping us safe, the police and security staff are the ones on high alert. They are the ones who ensure that we can go about our daily lives safely.
It was summed up by one eye-witness MP: “We’re not fearful. We have every confidence in the police.”
It was heartbreaking to see those events unfold yesterday. And the shock, pain and sorrow on the faces of those who worked so hard to save lives amid the senseless carnage will remain with us.