Police have stopped 25 terror attacks in the last three years, says security minister

Security minister James Brokenshire, seen here in Washington DC in March, said policies may need to be changed to deal with the terror threat. (Getty)

The UK has foiled 25 terror attacks in the last three years, security minister James Brokenshire has said following Saturday’s stabbing attack in Reading.

The minister said the government may need to change its policy as he faced questions following the “terrorist incident”, which saw three people stabbed to death in Forbury Gardens, a park in the Berkshire town.

When asked what type of terrorism currently poses the greatest threat, Brokenshire told BBC Breakfast: “Threats obviously manifest themselves in a number of different ways.

“Over the last three years, the police and security services have disrupted, prevented 25 attempted terrorist attacks.

Flowers are placed at the entrance to The Holt School in Wokingham in memory of teacher James Furlong, a victim of a terror attack in nearby Reading. (PA)

“We’ve seen this, the shape has changed and this shift between the growth of right-wing terrorism as well as Islamist-related terrorism.

“We obviously do guard against what are called these lone-actor isolated individuals, some of the issues that relate there in terms of radicalisation.

“So I think it’s difficult to make generalities but we guard against all of these different types of risk and threats.”

He also confirmed there would be no change to the UK’s threat level.

Colleagues and pupils of teacher James Furlong stand together to take part in a minute of silence at The Holt School. (PA)

Brokenshire said: “The police have indicated they’re not looking for anyone else at the moment in terms of this particular incident, and I think the point is we must allow them to get on with their investigation.

“This is very live, there are devices in terms of the phones and all those sorts of things, they’ll be interrogating, following through on the different statements, the searches that continue, and it is absolutely right that they do follow it through in that way.”

The 25-year-old suspect is understood to be Khairi Saadallah, a refugee of the civil war in Libya who briefly came to the attention of MI5 last year.

Brokenshire said he was unable to go into detail about the suspect and what was known about him due to the ongoing investigation.

He added: “What I would say is that the police and security services obviously deal with thousands of leads, that they have difficult challenges that they have in terms of prioritisation of resource, but I can assure that if there are lessons to be learned, there are policies that need to be changed.

“If we need to do things differently, absolutely that is what we will do.”

Police stand guard at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens, a day after the attack on Sunday. (AP)

Meanwhile, police continue to question the suspect and that they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Saadallah, who is thought to have been released from prison earlier this month, was held close to the scene at Forbury Gardens on Saturday night and arrested on suspicion of murder.

He was later re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which gives powers to detain him without charge for up to 14 days.

Earlier on Monday it was revealed that an American man was among the victims who died in the attack.

An aerial view showing police tents in Forbury Gardens at the scene. (PA)

Joe Ritchie-Bennett had lived in the UK for 15 years, his father confirmed to US TV network CBS.

Teacher James Furlong and one other person, yet to be named, also died.

A two-minute silence was held at the Holt School in Wokingham on Monday morning in memory of Furlong, 36.

Boris Johnson said he is "appalled and sickened" by the attack.

He said: "I'm appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way and our thoughts are very much with the families and friends of the victims today."

“If there are lessons that we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action when necessary.”