Romani police officer Petr Torák on London terrorist attack: We must not show fear
Speaking in an interview for Czech Radio, Romani police officer Petr Torák, who serves in Peterborough, England, said people must not show terrorists that they are afraid of them. A terrorist attack happened on Wednesday in London during which the assailant drove a car into a group of people on Westminster Bridge, then got out and stabbed several people in front of Westminster Palace, including a police officer.
The man was then shot dead by a special police unit. Four victims have died and several dozen have been injured.
The attacker was identified as a 52-year-old Muslim man named Khalid Masood who was born in Kent in southeast England and who had a criminal record for assault, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and causing a public disturbance. "Everybody is shocked, as police officers we have been deeply affected by this. The Police Federation is organizing a collection for the family of the deceased officer, we are also sending various messages of condolence to his family and friends," said Torák, who has made a personal contribution to the collection.
"The opinion of people in Great Britain now is that we must not succumb to fear. We must not demonstrate to the terrorists that we fear them. I feel the same, I will not live in fear or restrict myself in any way," said Torák, who also explained in detail to Czech Radio why most Metropolitan Police officers do not carry firearms.
Regular police in the UK are armed with handcuffs, pepper spray, a truncheon, and a walkie-talkie. Bullet-proof vests are also part of their equipment.
"In Cambridgeshire, where I work, we have about 1 500 police officers, of whom around 20 carry a firearm. Another 100 police officers or so carry Tasers. If an incident is not a tragedy like this, then it can be managed without a firearm," Torák said.
"Sometime in the 1970s or 1980s an incident happened here where somebody shot several children dead. The Government then banned the carrying of handguns, both for personal purposes and for police officers," said Torák, who was born in Czechoslovakia.
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