It’s now been over a week since the tragic event that unfolded on one of the world’s most famous bridges at Westminster. In the first few hours and even days, there was a lot of confusion as to what went on. The police cordon was there for well over 48 hours, guarding Westminster as a crime scene. From such investigations come facts, and it is with these that we can get moving in the right direction and see what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what can be done to prevent such attacks in the future.
In this article, I intend to analyze some of the facts and see not only what the security forces may be able to do in the future, but also if there is something we can all do to make a difference. I have been interviewed on Sky News regarding this attack, and asked about my thoughts regarding the response of law enforcement and first responders. I understand it’s very easy to sit back and critique an event afterwards from the comfort of an office. That said, on this particular occasion, there were flaws exposed, and as brave as some were in the face of danger, there is now a need to take these new lessons onboard and ensure measures are taken to enhance the wellbeing of first responders, law enforcement, and the general public during future attacks.
It took Khalistan Masood 82 seconds to mount the curb on the south bank and drive across the bridge, mowing innocent people down before coming to a halt against a wall. He then stepped out of the car, armed with two knives, and began attacking the police at the gate of Westminster Palace before being shot dead by a protection officer present on anther detail. In his wake, Masood left several injured and dead within the palace compound. He managed to stab to death PC Palmer, an ex-serviceman who tried bravely but in vain to stave off the attacker. It’s taken me more time to write this paragraph than it did for Masood to conduct his attack; that’s frighteningly quick for the amount of carnage caused. Unfortunately, anyone with access to a vehicle, knives, and a target can carry out an attack of this nature—one that will be seen the world over.
I am writing about it now, but far too much media time has been spent on this incident. It’s been a complete PR success for whichever organization was behind this. In the future, I would call for such events to have minimal exposure in the press. Sure, people need to know what has happened, but there is no need to clog every media artery with one story. Front pages should be off-limits on newspapers, and television stations and online publications should be limited to short pieces covering the basics.