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4 August 2016

Sadiq Khan steps up support for armed police after London mass stabbing

The mayor praised police doing "an incredibly difficult job". 

By Julia Rampen

The London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners to “remain calm and vigilant” after a mass stabbing in the city centre in which one woman died. 

He also pledged his “full support” to the police whom he praised for “doing an incredibly difficult job on our behalf”.

While the motive of the killer remained unknown at the time of his statement, the mayor is already in the process of stepping up the armed police presence in the capital. 

Just hours before the stabbing, on Wednesday 3 August, he announced that the London Metropolitan Police would deploy 600 more armed officers on the street.

As he acknowledged, it marks a shift from the tradition of unarmed policemen. 

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Khan said: “We will see more armed officers on our streets, but there is no reason to be alarmed.”

The decision was taken after “recent deadly attacks in Europe”, he said: “It is important we are prepared should the unthinkable happen.”

In the case of the London stabbing, the killer attacked late on Wednesday night in the university district of Russell Square. One woman died at the scene, and five were injured.

The police refused to rule out terrorism, but also suggested mental health could be a factor. 

In the event, the public will have a chance to find out. The police did not kill the perpetrator – they tasered him. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder following his return to consciousness.