LONDON : The man who drove a van into a group of people outside a mosque in north London has been identified as Cardiffbased Darren Osborne, who was described by neighbours as “aggressive” and “strange”.
Osborne, a 47-year-old married father of four, was apprehended by the public and handed over to police, a move that was widely welcomed. Britain’s political establishment equated the incident with two recent terror attacks on Westminster and London bridges.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the “hatred and evil” seen in the attack was “every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life” as the recent string of attacks apparently motivated by Islamist extremism. She added: “We will stop at nothing to defeat it.”
Given the growing number of such incidents, Scotland Yard on Tuesday said 1,800 more officers will be equipped with tasers, which deliver an electric shock to the target.
A taser reduces the need for physical contact and the risk of unintended or unnecessary injuries to all parties.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Keeping the public safe from harm is at the heart of our job. With this uplift, my officers will be better equipped to protect the public and themselves. We know that the mere presence of a taser is often enough to defuse a dangerous situation and often get a suspect to drop their weapon if they’re armed.”
The police searched Osborne’s home close to the Cardiff golf club in the northeast of the city suburbs. There was no immediate evidence that he was an active member of a far right organisation. He is being held on suspicion of attempted murder and alleged terror offences.
According to security minister Ben Wallace, Osborne was not known to security services. “What I can say on this case is, this individual, so far as we know at the moment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right,” he said.