Streatham terror attack: PM to 'bring forward' legislation to stop early prison release

3 February 2020, 13:43

Johnson has pledged to move faster on the legislation
Johnson has pledged to move faster on the legislation. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Boris Johnson says he will bring forward legislation to halt automatic early release of prisoners after saying his "patience" was wearing thin.

In comments on Monday, the prime minister said he believed the practicality of early release of dangerous prisoners had "come to the end of its useful life".

But, he warned, the government was currently struggling with finding ways to make the new legislation apply to those who already qualify for release.

"It is time to take action to ensure, irrespective of the law we are bringing in, people in the current stream don't qualify automatically for early release," he said.

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Speaking specifically about terror-related incidents, he said the de-radicalisation process is a "very, very difficult thing to do".

"There is a big psychological barrier people find it hard to get back over, and that's why I stress the importance of the custodial option and that's why I have come to the end of my patience with the idea of automatic early release and I hope that people will understand why we're doing that," he added.

Mr Johnson went on to explain his concerns over the handling of convicted terrorists in prison and whether they should be separated to "stop them reinfecting each other".

Police are still working at the scene where Amman was shot dead
Police are still working at the scene where Amman was shot dead. Picture: PA

The promise to take action on legislation came a day after police shot dead Sudesh Amman on Streatham High Road to stop an ongoing knife attack that injured two people.

It was later revealed the 20-year-old had been released from prison just six weeks earlier after serving half his sentence for terror offences.

Meanwhile on Monday, police carried out raids on two addresses in London and Bishop's Stortford in connection with Sunday's attack.

Police raided a hostel in Tulse Hill where Amman was believed to be staying
Police raided a hostel in Tulse Hill where Amman was believed to be staying. Picture: PA

A hostel in Tulse Hill - reportedly a bail hostel where Amman had been staying - remained cordoned off on Monday morning as police attended the premises.

The manager of the hostel said he had last seen Amman on Friday, and noted: "He didn't speak much."

He added: "I didn't have much to do with him. I don't really get involved with these guys.

"Everyone has their own rooms in there. The last time I saw him I was doing his radiator, setting up his heating on Friday."

Andrei Marius, a builder who lives opposite, said he came home at 7pm on Sunday to see the police presence.

The hostel at Tulse Hill is believed to be a bail hostel
The hostel at Tulse Hill is believed to be a bail hostel. Picture: PA

He said: I've always known the building was a bail hostel. We read the news about what happened, so we thought it was linked.

"It's madness. It is not really safe for us to have people like that living close to our homes."

Fatima Ahmed, another person who lives nearby, said she had been warned not to move into her home because of the hostel.

She said: "When I first moved here, my eldest son told me not to because there was a hostel in front of my house, but I have never felt threatened.

"I feel safe here, but this is really scary. I feel like I should be locking the doors even more often."

In Bishop's Stortford, one resident said the early morning raid close to her house had been "quite distressing" to witness.

She added: "They [the police] didn't knock the door down, it was just general raid. Neighbours came out - everyone was concerned - obviously people are worried because of what happened last year."

Speaking about the attackers family, she added: "I think the rest of the family are in the house.

"At the end of the day, the parents are really, really nice people - they are very religious."

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