The public sector must be “far more robust” in tackling extremism following Saturday’s terror attack in London, the prime minister has said.
Police have confirmed that three attackers killed seven people and injured 48 others after driving into pedestrians on London Bridge at around 10pm and stabbing people in Borough Market.
The three attackers were shot dead by police and 12 people have been arrested in Barking. One of those arrested has been released without charge, while the rest are being held under the Terrorism Act.
In a statement made outside Number 10 Downing Street yesterday, Theresa May said while progress had been made in tackling radicalisation in recent years, there remains “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country”.
She said extremists need to be deprived of “safe spaces”, which means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as taking action at home.
Ms May said: “So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out – across the public sector and across society.
“That will require some difficult and often embarrassing conversations, but the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom.”
The prime minister said a “robust counter terrorism strategy” had “proved successful over many years”, but warned the threat had become “more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online”.
She continued: “The strategy needs to keep up… we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure police and security services have all the powers they need.”
Local government leaders in the capital have said the community will stand united following Saturday’s attack.
London mayor Sadiq Khan (Lab) said there was no justification for the “barbaric, cowardly attacks”.
“By standing together as a city we will send a powerful message here and around the world - that Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism,” he added.
Mr Khan has confirmed he will attend a vigil to honour the victims in Potters Fields Park, near the scene of the attack, at 6pm on Monday.
He added that Londoners were grateful to the police and emergency services for their efforts
“As a city we will stand united against terror,” he said.
Southwark LBC leader Peter John (Lab) said the “pointless and horrific” attack would “achieve nothing” and thanked the emergency services for their “heroic” response.
Referencing the recent terror attacks in Manchester and Westminster, he added: “Just one attack of this sort is devastating, but as a city and a country we have suffered far too much in recent months.
“Southwark is an amazing borough and we are strongest when we stand together, support one another, and choose unity in the face of hatred.”
Greater Manchester’s elected mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese (Lab) both condemned the London attacks and sent messages of support.
Last month the leader of Westminster City Council Nickie Aiken (Con) told LGC of the “vital role” local authorities play in the aftermath of a terrorist incident following her experience of being involved in the Westminster attack in March.
Speaking following the attack in Manchester on 22 May which killed 22 people and injured 59 others, she said: “[Councils] have got a vital role because we are closest to our neighbourhoods, residents and businesses. We have a day-to-day relationship with them. When things like this happen they do look to us.”