Breaking LONDON Westminster

A ceremony in London has recognised the heroism of members of the public, police officers and first responders who responded to and stopped the Fishmongers’ Hall attacker on 29 November 2019

Held at London’s Guildhall on Friday, 29 October, it was attended by representatives and recipients from the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police and British Transport Police.

Recipients also included members of the public who bravely acted to stop the man who stabbed and killed Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, and left many others injured.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick awarded the commendations alongside City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “It is right and proper that we have gathered to recognise the selfless acts of heroism by the public and our first responders, when in late 2019, the lives of two promising young people were violently taken in an act of terror.

“It was just before 2pm when the attack started and many members of the public immediately responded, giving no thought to their own safety in order to stop the attacker and help those seriously injured. Shortly after, officers from both the City of London and Metropolitan Police, along with other emergency service colleagues, were called to London Bridge to face a deadly threat. Our officers showed the very best of policing. They did so without hesitation, putting their own lives at risk to protect the public and save lives.

“It is beyond doubt that the members of the public who confronted the attacker and every officer who responded demonstrated formidable bravery.

“Although we’ll be celebrating and commending some truly remarkable feats, it is done with an enduring sadness, knowing that despite such heroic efforts, it was not enough to save Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who were tragically killed; our thoughts continue to be with their families and loved-ones and with everyone affected by the awful events.”

City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson said: “It is an honour to commend those who were involved in the response to the horrific terror attack at Fishmongers’ Hall. From members of the public and police officers who put themselves in danger to stop the attacker, and who administered first aid and fought valiantly to save lives, to those who were involved in the extensive investigation and inquests that followed.

“They will say, “I was just doing my job”, or “I did what anyone else would do”, but their actions are truly remarkable.

“It is humbling to hear such examples of exceptional courage, selflessness and dedication, as we also remember Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt – two young people who also demonstrated these qualities in abundance throughout their lives, which were tragically cut short that day.

“I am extremely proud of everyone who has been commended and would like to express my gratitude to their loved ones, whose unwavering support will have been a great comfort as they come to terms with the effects of the attack, and also to those who dedicated countless hours to the investigation and inquests. I am honoured that so many of them could be here to witness their loved ones receiving their commendations.”

Counter Terrorism investigations across the UK remain at record levels, with more than 800 live investigations and 31 foiled plots since 2017. A significant proportion of that activity has a connection to London, so it’s vitally important that Londoners continue to be alert and vigilant.

Commissioner Cressida Dick added: “Sadly, we recently saw in Essex yet another terrorist attack with the terrible murder of Sir David Amess MP, and with it, a chilling reminder that the threat of terrorism is very real.

“We cannot defeat terrorism alone – we need your help and support. Bravery has many forms and we also need people to have the courage and confidence to report something to us that might feel wrong or seem suspicious – trust your instincts and ACT. Reporting something to us won’t ruin lives, but it might just save them.”

As society continues to emerge from Covid restrictions and gain further freedoms, the need therefore to remain vigilant to the threat of terrorism and report suspicious activity is as important as ever.