Mark Rowley, who gave the latest police statement (see below), is Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer. He serves as an assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and leads its specialist operations division, which is the home for the counter-terrorism command.
What leads police to consider terrorism as a possibility is not publicly being discussed. Police in the UK tend to be less open than, say, their counterparts in the United States.
In the past, police have classed incidents in the UK as terrorist because of what was said by a suspect at the scene, or because of material recovered from a suspect’s phone or computer, or because the suspect was known to them as potentially associated with violent extremism.
The definition of terrorism in England and Wales is contained insection one of the Terrorism Act of 2000. It is the use of violence to advance a political, ideological or religious cause.
Metropolitan police statement
Police were called just after 10.30pm last night [Wednesday] to reports of a man armed with a knife assaulting people at at Russell Square, Camden.
Armed officers arrived at the scene within five minutes. They discharged the Taser while confronting and arresting the suspect.
Six people have been injured, including the one woman who sadly died at the scene and the others have received various injuries. The deceased woman is in her 60s but it would be inappropriate at this time for me to give any more personal details about her.
A 19-year-old man was arrested shortly after 10.39pm and is currently in police custody at hospital.
Early indications suggest mental health is a significant factor in this case and that is one major line of inquiry.
But of course at this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains but one line of inquiry for us to explore.
At present the Met’s homicide command are investigating the incident but at present are supported by our counterterrorism unit.
As a precautionary measure tomorrow, Londoners will wake up and in the morning they will notice an increased police presence on the streets, including armed officers. This is there to provide reassurance and safety. We ask the public to remain calm and vigilant and alert.