The commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police has said that the range of nationalities of the victims of last week’s terror attack on London Bridge proudly showcases the diverse cultural makeup of the city.
“It’s desperately sad and poignant but among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish,” Cressida Dick told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.
“In terms of our witnesses that we’ve spoken to so far, out of the 300-odd people, there are about 20 different countries of origin. And the London British population comes from all kinds of backgrounds and every kind of faith and ethnicity.”
She said she believed that long-time residents of London cherished the international flavour of London. “We believe of course that that’s what makes our city so great,” she said. “It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.”
Dick stepped into the role of Commissioner in April. Previous to her appointment she was known to most of the public as the officer who presided over the botched police operation which saw Brazilian man Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead by officers who had mistaken him for a terror accomplice.
The force’s first female chief, she took the reins just weeks after a terrorist attack outside the houses of Parliament claimed four lives and left more than 50 others injured. It was the first of three attacks on British soil in as many months, two of which took place within the capital city.
But Dick is unperturbed by the rapid pace of events, insisting that London has long been the scene of terror. Following a line of argument similar to that of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who argued that terror attacks are “part and parcel” of living in a large city, Dick said that it was the role of the security services merely to adapt to changing terror methods.
“The threat is changing,” she said. “We cannot for a second assume there is no one out there who is not intent on highly elaborate methodology; there probably are, so we need to secure our airliners. But we also have some quite volatile individuals who go from having what you and I would regard as utterly vile extremist views to being motivated to carry out an attack.”
As her officers comb through evidence, including a number of Molotov cocktails stashed by the London Bridge terrorists for later use in the attack, Dick said she took pleasure in watching the vibrancy of daily life return to London’s streets.
“London is an incredibly resilient city,” she said. “London carries on. The Metropolitan Police carries on. And Londoners will be out and about tonight.”