MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed on Thursday after a meeting she had at a library in West Yorkshire, her constituency. She died at the hospital and hour later. After the atrocious event, police have urged MPs to increase security in this type of meeting and other activities that have never required the presence of police forces. Members of Parliament have been warned about possible copycat attacks.
At MPs constituencies, there are not extra security forces to protect the place where surgeries take place. MPs meet voters face-to-face every week. This is not the case in Parliament, where politicians are under the protection of layers of security officers and armed police.
Jo Cox was harassed the past three months through hateful emails and police had plans to assign some officers at her place.
Every MP has constituents that disagree with their policies and sometimes these voters release their anger kicking some furniture or slamming a door. Sometimes it escalates to a threat. There is always uncertainty whether they will or will not go further with their violent behavior.
Correspondent Mark Dárcy from the BBC said one MP confessed be relieved every time he passes by the armed police officers that protects Westminster.
Ben Bradshaw, a former Culture Secretary, said on Friday that he and his partners have been advised about security in their upcoming appointments, according to BBC.
British MP Jo Cox dies after shooting and stabbing attack in her constituency in West Yorkshire https://t.co/5NPe3EFlcP
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 16, 2016
The police insist on the safety at public meetings, but not every politician agrees
Lindsay Hoyle, Deputy Speaker, told the BBC Radio 4’s World that he thinks they have increased security not only for MPs but their staff and family as well, but he declared he has difficulties persuading his colleagues to take up the security measures. Hoyle also added that they have to analyze each MP security needs. Every politician has different routines, and they cannot protect them adequately if they give them a one-size-fits-all security plan.
A National Police Chief’s Council spokeswoman declared that security forces have been asked to repeat their message to MPs about personal safety, and to make them consider any security concern they may have. She added that the police will be available for further guidance to any MP, who requested any advice on a particular threat or risk.
The Police offered extra security to MPs who are having public meetings today
The Labour MP, Dan Jarvis, said he knows MPs are scared and that they will be reviewing security, still, he will go Friday to his constituency at Barnsley Central like every other Friday.
The Conservative MP for Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell, has taken the Police security advice. He said that after receiving a death threat this month, he made security changes at his office. Now the always-unlocked door he has in his office is now secured. He said: “people could just walk in and talk to my staff.”
Caroline Flint said public meetings are a positive part of British democracy, but MPs should consider their safety and their staff well-being. She said regarding her US counterparts that they are surprised at the close and personal relationship British politicians have with their voters.
The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) is a Home Office, which is in charge of security risks to public figures. Dr. David James, from this center, said no one wants to fortify their public meetings. He added that one of the problems is that many politicians see this sort of threats as part of the job, but he states that it is not, and it should not be a typical situation on their jobs.
Stephen Timms, a Labour member, said that the problem with extra security is that the meeting with your MP becomes an unpleasant experience, and none of them want that to happen. Timms was a victim of a constituent attack, like Cox. He was stabbed in the stomach and fortunately he survived.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon posted on Twitter that politicians across the country will hold surgeries today, in spite of the dark in their hearts, because this was what they do. She ended the tweet with the tweet with the phrase: “May it never change.”
Politicians all over the country will hold Friday surgeries today. We'll do so with heavy hearts. But it's what we do. May it never change.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 17, 2016
The Guardian reported that psychiatrists working with the Home Office published earlier this year a document that says four out of five MPs had been victims of aggressive behaviors.
About the suspect in custody for the attack to Jo Cox
Thomas Mair, a 52-year-old, was arrested as a suspect of the violence committed against politician Jo Cox.
According to the U.S.-based organization Southern Poverty Law Center, Mair was a supporter of the white supremacist organization National Alliance. The Southern Poverty Law Center have records of Mair purchasing a manual published by the National Alliance. The manual teaches how to build a pistol among other things. Mair has also bought the following books: Chemistry of Powder & Explosives, Incendiaries, Improvised Munitions Handbook and Ich Kampfe. The author of the last book is Adolf Hitler.
Source: BBC News