April 18, 2017 / 9:20 AM / a year ago

Gun might not have saved UK officer killed in attack: new London police chief

LONDON (Reuters) - An unarmed policeman who died during an attack on Britain’s parliament last month might not have been able to protect himself even if he had been armed, London’s new police chief Cressida Dick said on Tuesday.

A police officer holds an order of service as he waits with colleagues for the coffin of PC Keith Palmer, the officer killed in the Westminster attack, to be carried into Southwark Cathedral for his funeral, in central London, Britain April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Frank Augstein/Pool

The attack on Westminster, in which a man drove into a crowd of pedestrians before stabbing policeman Keith Palmer, prompted scrutiny of security arrangements at the Houses of Parliament.

However Dick, who gave a reading at Palmer’s funeral on her first day as Metropolitan Police Commissioner last week, said that he might still have died even if he had been armed.

“It’s very hard to say that if Keith had been armed, he would be alive today,” Dick said on BBC radio.

“There’s a backdrop of loads of members of the public where he was standing, so it might have been, even if he had had a firearm, difficult for him to take a shot.”

Khalid Masood plowed a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed Palmer to death, killing five in total before being shot dead by another officer.

Some politicians have criticized security at the parliament and suggested that Palmer should have had a gun. Dick said she would wait for the results of reviews into the attack before drawing any conclusions.

She said there would likely have to be “some changes” to security provisions, but added that the attacker was looking to challenge freedoms that Britons value.

In a separate interview with LBC radio, Dick said that “we need to be alert” to any possible new attacks but emphasized that people should carry on going about their daily business as usual.

“I don’t think people need to be going around alarmed all the time.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Andy Bruce

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