Labour calls for “comprehensive look at deradicalisation in prisons” after Reading attack

Elliot Chappell

Nick Thomas-Symonds has called for a “comprehensive look at deradicalisation in our prisons”, and for the government to “never again cut the numbers of community police” in the wake of the Reading terror incident.

Responding to a ministerial statement on the attack from Priti Patel in the House of Commons this afternoon, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary warned that “legislation alone is not enough”.

Thomas-Symonds said: “Let the message go out from this House today, that we stand alongside the wider community in Reading at this dark moment and say that those who have lost their lives will never be forgotten.”

He added that “we have to ensure that there is due process” in the case but “the country will want answers”. He asked Patel to commit to further updating the House on the investigation in the future.

The Shadow Home Secretary said: “Legislation alone is not enough. We need a comprehensive look at deradicalisation in our prisons – how people who pose a threat are risk assessed, and how different agencies can work together to safeguard against tragedies in the future.

“Community police are the eyes and ears of our societies. The intelligence gathering they do is vital. Can the Home Secretary assure me that the government will never again cut the numbers of community police and will instead build the capacity that is required for law enforcement?

“Can she also assure me that the serious violence task force, which has not met since 26th June last year, will meet soon and on a regular basis?”

He added: “We know that the intelligence and security committee has not met in over six months. Can the Home Secretary confirm when the committee will have all its members in place and exactly when it will meet next?”

The statement today followed the incident in a park in Reading on Saturday, in which three people were killed. A 25 year-old man has been arrested – initially for murder, but has since been rearrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Labour leader Keir Starmer released a video message on Twitter this morning. He described the attack as “horrific” and said that the party would “work in the national interest to support the response”.

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