Former Met terror chief brands decision to release Streatham attacker from jail "perverse"

3 February 2020, 12:52

Sir Mark Rowley believes it is "perverse" that the Streatham attacker was released from jail - and should have had his sentence extending until the state were happy he'd been reformed.

The former head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing and Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at the Met Police, spoke to Nick Ferrari about yesterday's attack in Streatham.

He expressed his concern about people being radicalised and there being "too much material out there" for them.

He also argued that there are two issues that strike him once an attacker is put in prison.

The first, said Sir Mark Rowley, is about how "determined and thorough" the effort to de-radicalise and reform them is.

Sir Mark said: "The prison service has a long way to go on that and needs a lot of help in dealing with ideologically-driven crime. That is very different to normal crime."

The other issue, he continued, is that there needs to be a "deliberate decision-making process" about releasing people.

He added: "As I understand the rules on this case, the prison service had no choice but to release him even though they were very, very concerned about it.

"That seems a bit perverse."

Met terror chief brands decision to release Streatham attacker "perverse"
Met terror chief brands decision to release Streatham attacker "perverse". Picture: PA

Sir Mark suggested that "for people who are going to prison with a committed ideology that they believe that slaughtering other people is their God-given purpose, there perhaps needs to be an ability to extend sentences until the state is happy that they have learnt the errors of their ways."

He told Nick Ferrari that there are reform programmes with success rates "but it will take significant effort to really sort of turn around and transform them".

He added: "If somebody is going to get released, are we absolutely sure they're safe?"