Information is still emerging about the terrorist attack near the Palace of Westminster and it is too soon to know what the motivations were.
In recent years there has been an increase in both vehicular attacks and the use of knives during terrorist attacks on the West. The Islamic State has specifically encouraged its followers to use these methods, as we saw at Ohio State University in November. These attacks are difficult for security services to prevent, as the weapons do not need specialist skills to assemble.
Recent research by The Henry Jackson Society has shown that between 1998 and 2015, within the UK, 12% of the attempted or successful attacks were vehicular, whilst 15% involved beheading or stabbing.
Given that thirteen plots have been foiled in the last four years, and that the terrorism threat is rated as severe, it is unfortunately not surprising that an attack has slipped through the net.
Henry Jackson Society Executive Director, Dr Alan Mendoza, said:
“We don’t yet know who the perpetrators were, but Islamic State has been inciting and directing attacks of this kind on the West for two years.
“There is very little the security services can do to stop it, particularly if it transpires that the attacker had no direct organisational connection.”