After the horrific Westminster attacks on Wednesday, there was huge praise for our medical staff, police officers and selfless members of the public. I can’t stress how important it is that we celebrate and remember these people and their names for as long as possible.
Because, sooner or later, they will be replaced in our newspaper headlines. They will be dominated by the names of the perpetrator and his accomplices who carried out the attack.
PC Keith Palmer; Tobias Ellwood MP; the Good Samaritan who attended an injured person on Westminster Bridge — these people are heroes. In a moment of pure instinct, they put the needs of others before themselves.
Some may say it is the duty of a police officer to do just that, but knowingly to put your life on the line takes unbelievable courage. PC Palmer stopped the assailant from reaching the Parliament building. He may have tragically lost his life but he may have saved so many.
For now, we must mourn those who have perished. But when we reflect on this atrocity, they deserve to be remembered as those who stood up for London.
The medics and police who ran into the danger to save lives in Westminster are the same brave people who are being pushed to the limit by the Government.
Where would we be without our nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, police officers and our great fire crews and armed forces? In times of emergency, it shows just how indispensable they are. Wake up, Theresa May, and do more to safeguard these vital workers.
It is incredible that our emergency service workers are still willing to put their lives at risk considering the treatment they have had over the past few years, such as police budget cuts which have reduced the number of officers on the streets and the change of shift patterns for the ambulance and hospital workers.
We are so lucky to have such dedicated people working in the public services.
More police have to be armed now
Our thoughts are with those who were killed or injured on Wednesday, their friends and families and, of course, the Met Police who ran towards danger and lost one of their own.
We visit London regularly as tourists and I have always been puzzled about why the police officers who stand on the gates of Parliament are unarmed, in contrast to those at Downing Street or Buckingham Palace.
As we move around tourist areas such as Trafalgar Square, we often see numerous police officers on foot patrol. But their presence alone doesn’t make me feel safe; they appear unarmed and, I assume, relatively ineffective if someone attempts to drive through crowds.
It is time that the Met let go of the Dixon of Dock Green image of London’s police force and arm their foot patrols at key locations in order to protect Londoners.
A policeman has been needlessly killed by a man armed with a simple knife who nevertheless managed to get to within a few feet of the entrance to the Houses of Parliament. I dread to think how far a well-armed militant group could have got.
The first line of protection of our centre of democracy should be officers who are fully armed and protected, with the ability to immediately deploy an impenetrable barrier against armed attackers.
In the light of yesterday’s atrocities, we are told there will be a heightened police presence on London’s streets so that we may feel more secure going about our daily business.
However, on Thursday morning on my commute to work during rush-hour through Kensington High Street, Gloucester Road, South Kensington and Chelsea, I did not see one police officer.
It begs the question — just who is the Metropolitan Police aiming to protect?
A moving gesture from our Muslims
I have seen many things that have moved me since the attacks in Westminster: the emotional tribute from James Cleverly MP in Parliament to his late friend PC Keith Palmer, the efforts from Londoners trying to help save lives and also local institutions providing shelter for those stranded. But I was quite taken aback by the gesture from Muslims United for London.
Within 24 hours, its fundraising page for the families of victims in the attack had surpassed the £10,000 mark. These contributions are from British Muslims, imams and mosques, not the public. What an unbelievable gesture.
I feel sad that these lovely people might feel in some way responsible for the actions of a few extremists, even though they have nothing to do with them.
In these difficult times, I will not forget their kindness and generosity. Thank you.