Police praise public restraint in detaining suspect

A still from a video shows a man being arrested by police close to the scene where a van was driven into a crowd of people near a mosque in Finsbury Park yesterday.
A still from a video shows a man being arrested by police close to the scene where a van was driven into a crowd of people near a mosque in Finsbury Park yesterday.

LONDON • A senior British police official praised Londoners for the restraint they showed in detaining the suspect in the van attack near a London mosque.

Senior counter-terrorism officer Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said people near the mosque must have been shaken and angry, given the shocking scene they had just witnessed. He commended them for their efforts in tackling and detaining the suspect until the police arrived.

Video footage from the scene showed several men with their hands held up trying to shield the suspect as police took him into custody.

"I would like to thank those people who helped police in detaining the man, and worked with officers to calmly and quickly get him into our custody. Their restraint in the circumstances is commendable," Deputy Assistant Commissioner Basu told reporters.

"He was very quickly and calmly given over to the police and put into custody. I think that was commendable by members of the community, who must have been incredibly shaken, incredibly scared and incredibly angry. What it proves to me is that Londoners will act together to protect themselves, but they do so in a way that doesn't feed into terrorist and extremist hands."

Press reports singled out an imam from a nearby mosque for calming the situation after the man was detained.

The Telegraph said Mr Mohammed Mahmoud was believed to be the man heard shouting "Don't touch him! No one touch him!" as police came to detain the suspect.

The incident happened outside the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park.

In a statement, the Muslim Welfare House also praised the imam: "(We) would like to particularly thank our imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Police praise public restraint in detaining suspect'. Print Edition | Subscribe