Ian Payne is Leading Britain's Conversation.
24 March 2017, 11:51
The Westminster attacker was a 52-year-old who was born in Kent. David Mellor outlines his idea for how we can predict and stop the next person trying to carry out an atrocity.
The man who was born in Kent 52 years ago as Adrian Russell Ajao, but who's lived most of the latter years as Khalid Masood, an extremist Islamic convert, wasn't apparently on the radar of the intelligence services.
He was according to the Prime Minister 'peripheral', but I have to ask why when he was a violent criminal with 20 years of a knife crimes behind him, when he was somebody who was a drifter, a failure, exactly the sort of person who could build up a head of steam against society and then develop a murderous intention because of extremist propaganda, that he was readily able to carry out as he did at Westminster this week.
So the first thing that needs to happen is that the intelligence services and the police have got to look really carefully at what there was in the background of Khalid Masood that they missed, just as when I was a Home Office minister, because I speak from some experience here, whenever I dealt with life sentence prisoners, whenever one killed again, we had a very thorough look to see what was it that was missed when the parole board decided to recommend a murderer's release only so he could kill again?
And while we're talking about threats, of course you've got to deal with the gates on the entrance into the parking yard at the Houses of Parliament, but to me it's far more important we look to see who is going to do this the next time?
What about all those returning Jihadis that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, in about the last thing he said as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, he said the powers that exist to deal with those people were not being used, they were just drifting back into Britain. To do what, I asked myself?
And then there's another point. We might have something to learn from the Germans here, because two radicals who were born in Germany but to foreign parents have just been stripped of their nationality.
It is perfectly obvious there are lots of people around in extremist mosques etc in this country who are born overseas, but who do not mind spouting the language of terror and encouraging vulnerable, damaged people like Khalid Masood to go and commit crimes. Why don't we actually deport them? We don't have to keep them here. Why don't we strip them of their nationality?
Why don't we try to be wise before the event rather than just afterwards.