Comment: And they wonder why most people don't believe them anymore...


attack at London Bridge
© Getty Images / Anadolu Agency / Isabel Infantes
Police officers cordoned off London Bridge following last night terror attack at London Bridge
The suspension of priority MI5 investigations into the ringleader of the London Bridge attacks before the atrocity is a matter of "legitimate public concern", the chief coroner for England and Wales has said.

In his Prevention of Future Deaths report, published on Friday, Mark Lucraft QC also suggested that further measures should be introduced to reduce the risk of rental vehicles being used in terrorist attacks.

Eight people were killed when three terrorists led by Khuram Butt, 27, drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then began stabbing people in a 10-minute rampage on 3 June 2017.

MI5 had been been investigating Butt since 2015 over concerns he wanted to stage an attack. But the investigation was suspended twice, in 2016 and again from 21 March to 4 May 2017, weeks before the attacks.

During the inquests, which concluded on 28 June after more than seven weeks of harrowing evidence, lawyers for the victims argued that valuable intelligence could have been lost as a result of the suspensions.

Lucraft's report raises a number of other concerns about the actions of the security services before the attacks, as well as the response by emergency services on the night.

The families of the bereaved have accused MI5 of missing "opportunities galore" to stop the attack. Among the failings was a two-month delay in translating a request from Italian authorities for information about another of the attackers, Youssef Zaghba, 22. Additionally, material recovered from Butt's phone and laptop during an October 2016 raid included Isis propaganda about martyrdom and suicide missions but the inquest heard no criminal charges resulted.

The families also criticised the response of the London Ambulance Service, whose staff did not enter the area where most of the victims lay dying until hours after the attack because it was designated a "hot zone". Police officers were left to treat the wounded with the the help of members of the public, not knowing that ambulances were parked nearby on Borough High Street.

The chief coroner's recommendations included:
  • Fresh laws on possessing the most serious material that glorifies or encourages terrorism.
  • Improving communications and co-working between MI5 and counter-terrorism police officers working on the same investigation.
  • Improving facilities for translating communications received from foreign security and intelligence services.
  • Increasing flexibility of the emergency response to marauding terrorist attacks.
  • Improving communications between the Met police and the London Ambulance Service.
  • Enhancing the first aid capabilities and equipment of either police officers generally or certain categories of officers.
He also suggested there were doubts about the "potential lone actor" tool twice used by MI5 to assess Butt's risk. In September 2015, he was assessed as being of "medium risk", and in May 2017 the assessment was "unresolved risk".

Read the rest here