Senior officers have hailed the “tremendous” bravery and “unflinching courage” of their colleagues who confronted the London Bridge terrorists and helped save lives.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick spoke outside the Old Bailey after a jury found Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were lawfully killed on June 3 2017.
She thanked the Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC and jury for their diligence in examining the evidence, much of which was “extremely harrowing”.
She paid tribute to the “tremendous courage and professionalism” of the armed officers who, when faced with an “appalling” scene, acted “calmly, quickly and in accordance with the training”.
“There is no greater responsibility for an officer than having to make the split second decision whether or not to use lethal force.
“On June 3 2017, firearms officers of City of London and Metropolitan Police saved lives. All the officers involved from the three police services of London both armed and unarmed should take great pride that in the face of the most extreme danger they quickly stopped the three criminals from continuing their murderous attack.
“Tragically, eight people were still murdered that night.
“These dreadful events showed us the very worst of humanity but it also showed us the very best as well.
“What stood out during these inquests head and shoulders above all else were the acts of tremendous bravery and compassion by the public and emergency services.
“The response that night under the most extreme and chaotic circumstances was quite simply extraordinary.”
She said without their efforts many more people would have been injured or died.
Ms Dick said the Paris attacks of November 2015 led to more armed police being deployed across London who were “ready and able to respond to the attack”.
“It was because of this that we had well rehearsed protocols in place between police and our emergency services colleagues so our response was highly co-ordinated and effective.
“I have no doubt that because of this preparation in the years before, many lives were saved.
“Those who commit attacks such as this do so intending to cause division, hatred and fear. But the response of the people, of and in this city, was to come together, to help each other, to protect each other and to stand against the hatred of the attackers.
“It is part of what makes London one of the world’s great cities. Its diversity, its culture, its inclusivity; it’s what makes people from all over the world come to visit, to work or live here and what makes it such a special place. The events of the 3 June 2017, whilst robbing us of eight much loved people who will never be forgotten, have ultimately not changed our city. ”
City of London Police Commander Karen Baxter said: “Throughout both these inquests our thoughts have been first and foremost with the victims of this appalling attack, and with their families and friends.
“On behalf of every member of the City of London Police, I want to reiterate our deepest sympathy and condolences to those whose lives were changed forever on 3 June 2017.
“This inquest has heard that three firearms officers from the City of London Police were the first to confront the terrorists, arriving on the scene within 10 minutes of the first 999 call.
“On their arrival they stopped the threat within 10 seconds which undoubtedly saved the lives of others.
“Their actions on that night spoke of a dedication – to the public and to their colleagues – and unflinching courage that is without question, remarkable.
“They put themselves in the way of danger to protect and preserve life: a principle at the very core of policing. As a force, the City of London Police is humbled and grateful for their selfless acts.
“This barbaric attack illustrates how policing across London knows no boundaries, and how officers from all forces have the courage and dedication necessary to defeat the hatred and fear that terrorists seek to sow in our community.”