Saturday, July 20News For London

Government isn’t doing enough to prevent terrorism, Londoners think

Pictures of the victims and encouraging slogans were placed on the bridge, image by Jiana Zhou

The London Bridge attack further divided the nation in regards to their political views only days before the election. Londoners said the government isn’t effective in their actions against terrorism.

On Saturday 29 November, Usman Khan, 28, carried out a knife attack that injured three people and led to the tragic deaths of Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23.

For a moment, the public conversation centred on messages of sadness and support for those affected by the tragic event. However, it wasn’t long before the conversation shifted from warm words to political arguments and point scoring.

For who could forget, there’s a general election in three days!

With Andrew Marr on the BBC, Boris Johnson talked tough on crime and pledged: “to take steps to make sure that people are not released early when they commit… serious sexual, violent or terrorist offences.”

Meanwhile, speaking to Sky News, Jeremy Corbyn took a different approach claiming that offenders did “not necessarily” need to serve their full sentence, adding: “prisons ought to be a place where rehabilitation takes place.”

With political leaders making their opinions known, we sought out the public to hear what they had to say on the matter. We sent out an online survey and spoke to people on the streets to discover what they thought and more interestingly which political leader they agreed with.

Results of 100 UK based people surveyed on early release of terrorists

86 percent of people polled said that terrorists should not be released on good behaviour, was one of the shocking revelations that came to light.

On its own, this clearly shows that public opinion is more aligned with that of the Conservatives- a very “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” approach to sentencing.

However, there was a sizeable minority who disagreed with this.

One individual we spoke to answered: “I think anyone can change, just as anyone can be instilled with those radical, extreme views, I think they can be withdrawn from them as well”.

Two thirds of the people surveyed believe that the government isn’t doing enough to combat terrorism in the UK was another interesting result revealed.

Results of 100 UK based people surveyed on government’s measurements

While, one individual recognised that: “It will never be 100 percent prevented, even if it’s a tiny percentage, it will always be a risk”.

The vast majority believed efforts by the current administration were insufficient.

One interviewee said: “They’ve made cuts in every department”.

This is a viewpoint shared by the Labour leader who has on several occasions, criticised the current Conservative government on their austerity cuts over the past nine years.

These cuts have led to there being 200,000 fewer police officers than there were in 2010.

Click the video below to see Londoner’s opinion on what a terrorist attack actually is and how the government deals with the issue

So, what can we learn from this data?

Overall, unlike the divided and polarised political atmosphere in Britain today, terrorism is a topic that, largely, unites the country.

There is clear consensus that there are certain actions the incoming government can take to prevent more terrorist attacks including more police, tougher sentences and better rehabilitation schemes.

Furthermore, while there exists sentiments of forgiveness towards those who commit these terrible acts, the vast majority of the British public would find it hard to fully extend an olive branch to them.

So, between Johnson and Corbyn, the British public find themselves afloat, stuck between the two leaders.

What does this means for the general election result?

We cannot begin to speculate…

A hung parliament, perhaps?


Words by Simone Gray | Images by Jiana Zhou | Video editing by Qiwei Zhang | Presenting by Amy Heather | Editing by Juliane Sonntag