Priti Patel urges public to remain 'alert' and 'vigilant' in wake of Reading stabbing attack

22 June 2020, 11:46

Home Secretary Priti Patel visits Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack
Home Secretary Priti Patel visits Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Home Secretary has said lessons should be learnt from the stabbing attack in Reading and urged the public to "always be vigilant" and "always remain alert".

Priti Patel, speaking at the scene of the Reading terror incident, said it was important to "learn the lessons" of the attack.

She said: "I mean this is a tragic, tragic event, it really is. We've seen three people die, so there is extensive work that's taking place, yes, with the police but obviously now with CT (counter-terrorism) police as well, and the intelligence community and all aspects of policing.

"We've got a lot of information to gather, we have to look at all aspects as to what happened on Saturday, the individual that's in custody as well, to ensure that, yes, justice is served.

"But, also, we make sure that we learn the lessons from what has happened over the weekend to prevent anything like this from happening again."

The Home Secretary's comments come after security sources have said a terror suspect being held following the knife attack in a park in Reading which killed three people came to the attention of MI5 last year.

The man, later identified as Khairi Saadallah, was detained by officers from Thames Valley Police a short distance from the site of the attack at Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening and arrested on suspicion of murder.

The stabbings, which took place on Saturday evening, are being investigated as a terror incident by police.

Home Secretary Priti Patel visits Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack
Home Secretary Priti Patel visits Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack. Picture: PA
Khairi Saadallah who was held close to the scene at Forbury Gardens in Reading on Saturday night and arrested on suspicion of murder after three people were stabbed to death
Khairi Saadallah who was held close to the scene at Forbury Gardens in Reading on Saturday night and arrested on suspicion of murder after three people were stabbed to death. Picture: LBC News

Asked about concerns among the public, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was "very restricted and constrained" in what she was able to answer due to the ongoing investigation but said security services "work intensively" to look at risks posed by individuals.

"The security services have records on thousands of people, and rightly so, subjects of interest, people of concern," she told reporters.

"There is very little I can say, but at the end of the day when it comes to MI5 and our intelligence and security services, they work intensively to look at the backgrounds of individuals to see what kind of risk they pose to society, to our communities.

"And they act accordingly in terms of what kind of protective measures are put in place around those individuals, and what kind of protections are needed."

On the current terror threat level, Ms Patel said that police had been "clear" they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack, but added that the public should "always be vigilant" and "always remain alert".

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