Following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Sudesh Amman, Dean Haydon QPM, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, said:
“On the afternoon of 2 February 2020, two members of the public were stabbed in a terrorist attack on a busy south London high street.
“Armed officers who had the attacker under surveillance gave chase within seconds, confronted and, as he turned towards them with the knife, shot him fatally. This all happened in just over 60 seconds.
“Today, the jury found that the attacker was lawfully killed. Her Majesty’s Coroner commended the armed surveillance officers for their bravery and putting themselves in harm’s way in order to keep the public safe.
“He noted that this was in stark contrast to the actions of Sudesh Amman who was prepared to risk his life in order to try to murder other people. The Coroner recognised that we owe the officers a considerable debt and extended gratitude to the investigative team who should be commended for discharging their duties to a high standard. I would like to thank the Coroner and the jury for their careful examination of this incident.
“Thankfully, most armed officers in the UK will never need to discharge their firearm in the course of their duties; let alone come face-to-face with somebody carrying out a terrorist attack in the way these officers did.
“They were extremely courageous in the way they pursued the armed attacker, and made sure he could not harm anyone else. This was another example of how our police officers confront danger to keep people safe.
“Police had serious concerns about the attacker’s extremist mind-set, and what he might do upon his release from prison. It was for this reason that he was monitored by an incredibly skilled and professional team, who were in the right place at the right time to quickly intervene in what could otherwise have been a murderous attack.
“Using lethal force is always a last resort, but as the court heard, in the circumstances of this particular case, once the attack started lethal force was the only way to stop it.
“This inquest has given a rare insight into how police work closely with the security services, the probation service and other partners to manage terrorist offenders released from prison.
“Police have brought increasing numbers of terrorist offenders to justice in recent years, and so the task of managing them upon their release has also grown.
“It is an incredibly challenging job which requires difficult decisions to be made, and we use a range of resources and measures to manage these individuals. However, we are always looking at ways to strengthen these processes, to ensure the public is kept safe from extremists.”
Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said:
“The armed surveillance officers who responded to this incident, and acted to draw the armed terrorist towards them to stop him attacking others, were incredibly brave. I am proud of them and would like to thank-them for their professionalism, courage and decisiveness in the most challenging of circumstances – fast moving, horrific and frightening. The attack happened on a busy high street, and quite simply their quick actions almost certainly saved lives.
“While there were fortunately no fatalities, we can’t forget that two people were seriously injured. One of them suffered life-changing injuries, and no doubt the events of that day will live with them for a long time. Our thoughts are with them.
“The police operation before and after the attack was challenging and involved hundreds of officers and staff from across the Met, and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of their efforts.
“I also want to praise the members of the public who did what they could to help those who were injured, and stayed with them until medical crews arrived. This display of humanity and compassion shows that London will always stand against terrorists and what they stand for.
“While we have foiled a number of planned terrorist attacks in recent years, unfortunately we won’t be able to stop every attack. But I want the public to know that we will continue to work around the clock, and with great determination, to deal with the terrorist threat.
“Terrorism remains a substantial threat across the UK, and we would therefore urge the public to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity or behaviour that might be linked to terrorism to police.”