Police had investigated the ringleader of the London bridge terror attack, but could not even charge him with the minor offence of common assault, it was revealed Tuesday.
London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley outlined in an article, released by the Met, details of the efforts made by the Met and Britain’s secret service MI5 to investigate terrorist Khuram Butt.
Butt was one of three men shot and killed by armed police in a terror attack in London.
Rowley said:”We investigated Butt, the London Bridge ringleader, however, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation was prioritized accordingly.”
“He is one of thousands of vile people, with vile views, so we searched for other evidence of criminality to lock him up.”
“We had a public report to our hotline about him. It was welcome and confirmed what we knew — he was a vile and worrying extremist — but took us no closer to evidencing offending. We investigated him for fraud and common assault but there was no prospect of charging him,” added Rowley.
The police terrorism expert said with three terror attacks in Britain within ten weeks, the tempo of the terror threat is unprecedented.
“Working with MI5, we have about 500 investigations involving some 3,000 individuals posing the biggest threats. There are another 20,000 who we continue to be concerned about. Some of these, we will decide to move into the priority group. Others may move from radical to would-be terrorist very quickly,” said Rowley.
Rowley called for local communities to be more assertive at calling out extremists and radicalisers among the population. “It’s not just overseas propaganda inspiring attacks.”
He also wants internet-based companies to show more responsibility.
“It is too easy for the angry, violent or vulnerable to access extremist views, learn about attack methodologies, conspire on encrypted applications and then acquire equipment to kill, all online,” he said.