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Manchester stabbings were terror attack, agrees ex-police chief. Former chief constable defends classification despite arrest under Mental Health Act
From the Guardian
It was right to classify the stabbing of three people in Manchester on New Year’s Eve as terrorism despite the suspect being detained under the Mental Health Act, a former police chief has said.
Sir Peter Fahy, the ex-chief constable of Greater Manchester police, said the knife attack highlighted a growing concern around people with existing mental health issues being “particularly vulnerable” to radicalisation.
“I don’t think it stops it from being a terror attack, particularly for the people involved,” Fahy told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning.
The 25-year-old suspect, who has not yet been named, was detained under the Mental Health Act on Tuesday night, almost 24 hours after the stabbing of three people, including a British Transport Police officer, at Manchester Victoria station.
Greater Manchester police said a counter-terrorism investigation remained ongoing. Detectives said there was nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in the attack but this was the main focus of the investigation.
Fahy said the mental health dimension did not necessarily reduce the level of fear or risk to the public, which he said was “still at its very highest”. He added: “It does mean that the intelligence services [and] the police are working much more closely with other agencies – social services, youth organisations, mental health agencies – and this is becoming more and more the focus of the work and that is very different from the time after 11 September or the 7 July bombings..."
On Tuesday morning, armed officers raided a property in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, where the suspect, who is being held on suspicion of attempted murder, lives with his parents and four siblings.
A police spokesman said: “The counter-terrorism investigation remains ongoing. There is nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in this attack, but confirming this remains a main priority for the investigation. The search of the address in Cheetham Hill continues.”
Local woman Nousha Babaakachel said a Somali family live at the address, a mother and father of five in their forties who came to live in the street around 12 years ago from the Netherlands.
Mrs Babaakachel, 40, said two of the four sons are at university, one works at Manchester Airport and the youngest is back in Somalia. They also have a daughter.
Both parents attend the local Khiza Mosque. I hope they have a good look in the mosque, and at who preaches there, and leads 'brotherhood' groups there.