Security expert Chris Phillips claims police must be given enough resources to carry out their jobs
After it emerged on Thursday that it was the protection officer of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon who shot the attacker dead, questions have been raised about whether more British police should be armed.
Chris Phillips, the former Head of National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said police officers must have enough resources to be able to carry out their jobs effectively.
Tasers are an interesting one, because if the officer had had a taser then dealing with a knife attack is quite feasible
Speaking on Newsnight, he said: “The police are there [at the Palace of Westminster] almost as guests of the Parliamentary team and have to carry the weapons that they’re given.
“It’s interesting that there wasn’t the machine gun guys nearby, but this was a success actually for the security of the Palace.
“He [attacker Khalid Masood] didn’t get in – he walked five or six yards and was taken out.”
Mr Phillips appeared alongside think tank founder Anis Altikriti on Newsnight
Mr Phillips added: ”I think the average officer is now moving towards being armed, however there’s a real inclination to say ‘no, we don’t need to go down that route yet’.
“The most important thing is that there’s enough resources given to the police to do the job properly.
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Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster, London
“Tasers are an interesting one, because if the officer had a taser then dealing with a knife attack is quite feasible.
He said there are only a “very small amount” of officers who carry tasers, adding that they’re are generally on “response teams”.
Mr Phillips: “There are less police officers on the street now than ever before, ad if this attack had happened anywhere but the most policed building in the country, the results would’ve been different.”
Armed police rushed to Westminster after news of the attack broke on Wednesday
The former security chief urged people to “steer away” from putting to blame on authorities as “there is not enough resources” to monitor the number of people who fit the killer’s profile.
After it was revealed that the twisted attacker had previous convictions for violent crimes but none for terrorism, Mr Phillips said it could not be considered an intelligence failure because there are “literally thousands” of people who fit that profile.
Me Phillips added there “are not enough police in the world” to offer constant surveillance.