PHILIP FLOWER: Police will AGAIN feel utterly let down by the judiciary

Boris Johnson has promised to put an end to soft sentencing and the early release of convicted terrorists – but I fear yesterday’s bloody events on the streets of south London show the hollowness of politicians’ words over the decades.

At first glance, this looks alarmingly like a repeat of the London Bridge attack last year.

Then, the perpetrator, Usman Khan, 28, had been released halfway through a 16-year sentence. Mr Johnson insisted lessons had been learned, and would be acted upon.

At first glance, yesterday’s bloody events on the streets of south London look alarmingly like a repeat of the London Bridge attack last year, writes PHILIP FLOWER. Pictured: Passers-by tackle the London Bridge killer, who was on a tag

At first glance, yesterday’s bloody events on the streets of south London look alarmingly like a repeat of the London Bridge attack last year, writes PHILIP FLOWER. Pictured: Passers-by tackle the London Bridge killer, who was on a tag

However, the record of recent years speaks differently. Politicians promise to take the fight to the judiciary, but they tend to retire hurt in the face of a confected clamour about human rights.

As many as 40 of the 264 fanatics convicted of Islamist-inspired terrorism between 1998 and 2015 had their sentences reduced on appeal.

At least seven have been jailed again since their release or had to return to prison for breaking licence conditions, including some caught spreading hate online or trying to travel to join Islamic State.

After his release, Khan went on to kill two Cambridge graduates last year.

Then, the perpetrator, Usman Khan, 28, (pictured) had been released halfway through a 16-year sentence

Then, the perpetrator, Usman Khan, 28, (pictured) had been released halfway through a 16-year sentence

Yesterday’s attacker seems also to have been a convicted terrorist who had been released, and was under close surveillance from the plain-clothes armed police who shot him when he launched his deranged assault.

A S a retired senior police officer involved in containing terrorist and other threats during a 40-year career, I want to tell you of the intense frustrations that will be felt today across British policing. They will feel utterly let down by the judicial system.

When I was a constable, I could arrest and process a suspect in an hour, maximum. Today, it takes a day or more.

The police are mired in bureaucracy, while the judicial system has become an institutional cloud-cuckoo land.

As a society, we have to decide how to deal with terrorist suspects. It takes around 32 police officers to maintain around-the-clock surveillance of a single terror suspect.

It is insane to attempt to maintain this level of supervision of the thousands of individuals known to be of interest to the security services and counter-terrorism police. It seems as though the Streatham perpetrator was being watched by armed police, yet still he managed to stab shoppers.

I am proud and relieved that we are not a totalitarian society, but at what cost do these liberties come?

If we are to release convicted terrorists from jail early, then we would have to recruit thousands and thousands more police to oversee them, which of course will never happen because there is not enough money and we would find that level of intrusion unacceptable in a free society.

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