Barriers to stop vehicle attacks were put up after 2017 terror attacks as bridges were seen as soft target
- Barriers put up within days of a terror incident at London Bridge in June 2017
- The area, and other central London bridges, were at time seen as a soft target
- Today, man was shot by police following reports of person brandishing knife
Security measures around Westminster and at locations including London Bridge were beefed up in the wake of the 2017 attacks – where today armed police shot a man following reports of a person brandishing a knife.
Barriers were put up within days of a terror incident at London Bridge and Borough Market in June 2017. Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 others in the van and knife attack.
The area, and other central London bridges, were seen as a soft target. After the attacks concern was raised over a lack of protection for pedestrians who were labelled ‘sitting ducks’ in the wake of the incident.
City of London Police only took action to protect the public ‘after the horse had bolted’ by erecting the barriers (pictured here on London Bridge just days after the terror attack) on eight bridges in six days, the hearing was told
The van used in the London Bridge attacks to mow down pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub
In the aftermath, tactics for armed officers were changed, with marksmen allowed to shoot at a vehicle used in such an attack. The number of armed patrols around the capital also increased.
The terror attack came just months after Khalid Masood, 52, ploughed a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge in March 2017, in the first of five terrorist attacks in Britain during that year.
Concern had been raised over the possibility of attacks on Central London bridges, with a police constable warning his bosses to install barriers on London Bridge weeks before eight people were murdered, an inquest into the terror attacks heard in June.
City of London Police only took action to protect the public ‘after the horse had bolted’ by erecting the barriers on eight bridges in six days after the London Bridge 2017 terror attack, the hearing was told.
Members of the public also contacted the authorities that owned London Bridge expressing their worries that the walkway was a ‘prime target’ after the Westminster attack.
Police and emergency services at the scene of the incident on London Bridge this afternoon
The inquest also heard how London Bridge was considered a ‘viable and attractive target’ for an attack using a vehicle as a weapon in a report submitted in the weeks before the terrorist attack that killed eight people.
The report, by a private sector company for the City of London Police noted that the ‘location and layout’ of the bridge ‘lends itself to a ramming attack, with no physical barriers to prevent a vehicle mounting the pavement.
It suggested that a vehicle might crash almost exactly where it did on June 3 2017 and that the attackers might attack bystanders with a ‘bladed weapon’, just as they did.
A senior police officer revealed that they did not consider the attack on Westminster Bridge, three months earlier, as an attack on a bridge, even though four of the five victims had died there. The fifth, PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death at the Palace of Westminster.
Today, with the security measures in place, a man has been shot by police near London Bridge in an incident which is being responded to ‘as though it is terror-related’, the Metropolitan Police said.
Footage on social media appeared to show armed officers surround a person on the ground before discharging a weapon, while a bystander appears to remove a large knife from the scene.