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The reaction to such a dangerous situation neatly demonstrated an increasingly blasé attitude to terrorist attacks in Britain despite some seriously chilling statistics and emerging trends where violence is being carried out by convicted terrorists.

This latest incident, in which Amman was shot dead after stabbing two people in the southern residential suburb of Streatham, was the third terror attack in the United Kingdom in just two months. And the 10th in a little over three years.

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Amman was under police and MI5 surveillance on Sunday afternoon when he entered a discount shop, stole a knife and started stabbing people at random. One is in a critical condition and, if he survives, may owe his life to the heroism of witnesses who used their own clothes to put pressure on the wound until paramedics arrived.

The young knifeman had just been released from prison days earlier after serving time for possessing and distributing extremist material. A court heard how the then 18-year-old owned bomb making manuals, praised the Islamic State in WhatsApp group messages, and sent beheading videos to his girlfriend while urging her to kill her parents.

At the time, counter-terror command head Alexis Boon said Amman had documented a “fascination with dying in the name of terrorism”.

“Amman had scrawled his ‘life goals’ in the notepad and top of the list, above family activities, was dying a martyr and going to…the afterlife,” Boon said.

It is understood that the man police are investigating over the terror attack on Streatham High Street is Sudesh Amman.

It is understood that the man police are investigating over the terror attack on Streatham High Street is Sudesh Amman.Credit:Source: Met Police

He pleaded guilty to six charges of possession and seven of disseminating terrorism material and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

What happened next? He was released early under the UK’s controversial parole regime, and was only under surveillance at the time of Sunday’s attack because police believed he still posed a threat to the public.

Some will see the surveillance as proof the system is working. But the general public should be appalled such a dangerous offender could be walking the streets when authorities were so worried about his intentions that they felt the need to launch a major undercover operation.

In late November, convicted terrorist Usman Khan unleashed a deadly rampage at a prisoner rehabilitation conference before being shot dead by police on London Bridge. And in early January, a guard at a high-security prison north of London had his neck and face slashed by inmates in what police later classified a terrorist attack.

The incident on Sunday was the third terrorist attack in Britain in the past two months.

The incident on Sunday was the third terrorist attack in Britain in the past two months.Credit:PA

Sunday’s incident will strengthen support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to crack down on convicted jihadists and deny them early release. However the Conservative Party has had a decade in government to get this right and have so far failed abysmally.

The three most-recent attacks now share the same striking connection: police and politicians knew the perpetrators were terrorists well before they unleashed their attacks. A complacent Britain should sit up, pay attention and demand answers.

Bevan Shields is the Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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