British Prime Minister David Cameron visits Boston Marathon bombings site; says it will take more than just police work to prevent attacks

BOSTON , MA. 05/ 14/ 13: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron visits the Marathon bomb memorial in Copley Square with Governor Deval Patrick. ( David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 15cameron(1)
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the memorial in Copley Square with Governor Deval Patrick.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

British Prime Minister David Cameron said today during a visit to the Boston Marathon bombings memorial on Boylston Street that law enforcement is not the only answer to preventing future terrorist attacks — that efforts must also be made to stop young minds from turning to extremism.

“Look, there is really a vital role for law enforcement, a really vital role for intelligence. There’s a tough side to all of this that we have to get right,” Cameron said. “But there’s also a side, as I said, of challenging the narrative of violence, of extremism, that we have to get right, to stop young minds being poisoned by this dreadful, radical, extremist narrative. And there’s always more work to do on that.”

Cameron said that the way to challenge that narrative is “by standing up for the values we believe in, for freedom, for democracy, for the fact we’re proud to live in an open and tolerant society.”

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“It’s hard to believe that people can do these things to countries like ours, when we are freedom-loving, when we are democracies, when we do value people’s rights. But these things do happen and we have to fight them and challenge them, and that’s what I know you’re going to do right here in Boston,” he said in a transcript of his remarks provided by the office of Governor Deval Patrick, who accompanied him on his visit.

The makeshift memorial in the city’s Copley Square includes T-shirts, letters, running shoes and other items.

The trip to Boston follows a White House visit Monday during which Cameron met with President Obama. Cameron visited MIT later this morning.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured in the twin blasts that struck near the Boston Marathon finish line on the afternoon of April 15.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge allegedly planted the bombs. Tamerlan died when he was shot by police and run over by his own brother during a desperate showdown in Watertown early on the morning of April 19. Dzhokhar was captured later the same day and is facing federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. The two men are also suspected in the slaying of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

The attacks shook the nation and raised questions about why the Tsarnaevs apparently adopted extremist views — and whether the attacks could have been prevented by law enforcement.