Commissioner Cressida Dick responds to the conclusion of the Westminster Terrorist Inquest:
“I welcome the Inquest conclusion that our officers acted lawfully in shooting a terrorist and murderer. Their bravery and quick thinking stopped his lethal rampage, which had already taken the lives of five innocent people and devastated so many more as a result.
“The professionalism, bravery and compassion shown by the plain clothed officers in stopping a terrorist and then immediately trying to save his life are in the best traditions of policing. They, and so many other Met officers that terrible day, did an incredible job responding in very difficult circumstances.
“The Inquest heard evidence of the courageous intervention of PC Nick Carlisle during the attack and the Chief Coroner also recognised and thanked the quality of the police investigation in the weeks and months that followed.
“My thoughts have been with all those affected throughout these inquests, in particular the families of those who were murdered, those who were injured, and of course, the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer who died in the line of duty courageously protecting Parliament.
“For obvious reasons, whilst the inquest has been underway I have not made any comments on the extraordinary amount of confused, unpleasant, personalised and ignorant commentary by some on the actions of the Deputy Commissioner.
“These criticisms are simply not supported by the evidence. As the Chief Coroner has made clear ‘…there was nothing he could have done to stop Masood. PC Palmer was under attack practically as soon as Sir Craig saw the attacker. What Sir Craig did was sensible and proper, and was intended to protect others in the car with him…..’
“The Chief Coroner went on to say: ‘It is also clear that, after Masood had been shot, Sir Craig did not flee the scene. His first instinct was to get out in New Palace Yard, as we saw on the footage when he opened the car door. However, he was told by an officer to leave, and for good reason. You may well think that it was important for the most senior police officer in the country to be at New Scotland Yard where he could take command and control of what, at that time, could potentially have been part of a much larger attack.’
“The attack in New Palace Yard occurred and was stopped in seconds. Sir Craig had absolutely no opportunity to stop the killer or save PC Palmer. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.
“The actions he was able to and did take were to protect the unarmed police staff colleagues who were in the car with him. He went on to lead the Met’s response to the attack with distinction.
“We have already fully accepted the Chief Coroner’s findings of shortcomings in the security system at New Palace Yard in March 2017. We have made substantial improvements since the attack. Once we receive the detailed findings from the Chief Coroner we will respond to any recommendations that are made.”