Tory cuts and legal changes may have left judges and the probation services without the tools to keep the country safe, Sadiq Khan has warned.
The London Mayor paid tribute to the heroism of the members of the public who confronted terrorist Usman Khan yesterday – but warned that the lessons that led to the incident must be learned
Speaking to LBC, Mr Khan said: “As far as City Hall is concerned, we’re invested in as much as we can and I indeed did raise council tax and also business rates.
“The real challenge is to make sure we can persuade the Government to reverse the cuts they’ve made because 80% of our funding comes from central government.”
Mr Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “you can’t disaggregate terrorism and security from cuts made to resources of the police, of probation, the tools that judges have.”
He added: “The key thing is we need to support the police and security service.
“And of course politicians can’t use trite words and trite language after a terror attack. The key thing is to remind ourselves of two things.
“First is yesterday we saw the very best of Londoners, but also, secondly, we’ve got to make sure the right lessons are learnt.”
Later Mr Khan, who prior to being a politician worked as a lawyer, warned that sentencing changes that scrapped powers to jail the most dangerous criminals for an indeterminate amount of time need to be reexamined.
He told Sky News: “One of the tools that judges had when it came to dangerous convicted criminals including convicted terrorists was the ability to give an indeterminate sentence to protect the public.
“That was taken away from them by this government.”
“That’s not there now, and that’s a concern.
“The second issue, is when a person is released on license, does the Ministry of Justice and the probation service have the resources to supervise people who are clearly dangerous?
“A man like this who was convicted of a serious offence shouldn’t be able to be released automatically.
“I voted against the government getting rid of the IPP sentence. The judges need more tools.”
Security minister Brandon Lewis refused to say whether the attack by convicted terrorist Usman Khan showed a “failure” by authorities.
Mr Lewis repeatedly refused to comment on the specifics of the incident, but said that more assessment was needed of the sentences given to violent criminals.
“We take what action we need to do and we believe is right under the advice of the police and look at all of the lessons learned from any case as quickly as we can to ensure people’s safety,” he told Sky News.
When asked how Khan, who pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism in 2012 and was on licence from prison at the time of the incident, was able to arm himself and launch the attack, Mr Lewis said it would be “inappropriate and dangerous” to speculate on the issue.
He added that although the UK terror threat level had been recently reduced from “severe” to “substantial”, there had been “no change in the posture and the work” of police and counter-terrorism forces.
Mr Lewis said the Government wants to move “very swiftly” in its review of sentencing for violent crimes following the attack.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Lewis said: “Police funding for counter-terrorism policing has consistently increased since 2015.
“As have counter-terrorism police numbers.”