‘Police don’t shoot to kill, they shoot to stop a threat.’


Following the recent Streatham High Street attack on Sunday, the Havering Daily has spoken to former Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kirkham about the terrorist attack and the bravery of the Met police.

Police surveillance units had been following Sudesh Amman after having been released from prison. Amman was being watched and entered a shop where he then exited with a knife or machete it is believed and began stabbing people in the High Street.

He wasn’t a high profile target so it was lucky that the police had been following him and were able to control the situation in a matter of minutes. Not all targets like him can be watched all the time as the police just don’t have enough resources to cover it.

It takes up to two teams if it is a twelve-hour shift and it can take up to 30-50 people for a full surveillance unit. There is no way that the police have enough resources to cover everyone like that and so they have to prioritise and luckily this recent terrorist was one being watched.

Apparently he dived into a shop and came out with a knife and began stabbing people in the High Street. I don’t think the police would have expected him to do this so had to run out and challenge him quickly and get the situation under control and that was achieved.”

The attacker was believed to have been wearing a fake suicide vest at the time and now certain members of the public have been criticising the police saying he should have been shot in the leg and not killed outright.

Peter responded by saying, “That is utter nonsense. The police don’t shoot to kill they shoot to stop a threat and that is exactly what they did. You don’t know if it is a fake suicide vest or not so you have to extinguish the threat straight away and shooting the suspect in the leg is going to allow him to still pull the trigger.”

Terrorists do not apply labels on suicide vests to let police officers know if they are real or not and as such the police must take every measure to stop the threat. Another factor to be remembered is that whilst everyone else heads in the opposite direction of an attacker, it is the police who run head on to face him and do not know if this is going to be the last moments of their own life.

Yes,” continued Peter, “they are trained to deal with situations like this, but you never know what you are going to face and if that was a real suicide vest that could have been the last moments of that officer’s life. These are brave men and women who do their job to the best of their ability and show incredible bravery.

There are many keyboard warriors out there who talk a lot but have very little knowledge on what they are saying.”

The issue of how to deal with this level of terrorist has become a challenging one in our society.

If they go into prison as extremists, they will come out of prison as extremists. Prison does not de-radicalise terrorists. As a matter of fact, there are many reports of prisoners being radicalised in prison.

The key to stopping this is working to de-radicalise people to stop them from re-offending.”

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