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London Bridge was ‘crying out’ for barriers before terror attack | UK News

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London Bridge was “crying out” for temporary barriers prior to the terror attack there, an inquest has heard.

Gareth Patterson QC, representing some of the victims’ families, said it was “unreasonable” that the “wrong decision was clearly made”.

Eight people died and 48 others were injured in a van and knife attack on 3 June 2017.

London Bridge was considered to be among the top five likely targets following the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017, the inquest heard.

The victims were all killed in the space of ten minutes.
Image:
The victims were all killed in the space of ten minutes

Sergeant Matthew Hone, from City of London Police, said in an email that London Bridge was “probably my biggest concern” in terms of an unsophisticated attack.

It was also described as a “crowded place, iconic site, predictable eastern pavement crowded at commuter times”, following a security meeting a day after the Westminster Bridge atrocity.

City of London Police’s commander of operations and security at the time, Jane Gyford, said London Bridge did not meet the criteria for installing barriers – those being a specific threat or during a large public event.

More from London Bridge Attack

“There was no intelligence picture to suggest London Bridge was going to be the site of an attack and therefore we were looking at the picture as a whole and we were taking action,” she told the Old Bailey.

She was also asked whether protective barriers could have been secured under the National Barrier Asset system, which provides police forces with equipment to protect high profile locations or temporary events.

Ms Gyford said there was “no case in this country where National Barrier Asset has been used without intelligence or to do with an event”.

But she added that officers did pay close attention to London Bridge, and “concentrated our efforts on it in any case”.

L-R: London Bridge attackers Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba
Image:
L-R: London Bridge attackers Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba

Mr Patterson said that barriers would have been more effective than the force’s Servator tactics, which involve unpredictable, highly visible deployments, and enhanced armed vehicle response units.

He told the court: “This particular place was crying out for protection, was it not?”

The QC added: “My suggestion is that, whether it (the decision-making process) was rigorous or not, the wrong decision was clearly made, and the unreasonable decision was made, not to install barriers.”

Commander Gyford replied: “I disagree.”

The attacks were committed by Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22.

Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, all died.

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