Armed police officers have detained a man after he crashed his vehicle into security gates at Downing Street, leaving onlookers fearful that the incident was an attempted terrorist attack.
Footage of the incident shows a silver Kia slowing down as it approaches the main entrance to Downing Street. However, the vehicle then proceeded to crash into the main gates, being filmed by a BBC cameraman as crossed two lanes from the southbound side of Whitehall and headed in the direction of Downing Street.
The entrance to the street is staffed around the clock by armed and unarmed police officers but is accessible by road via Whitehall.
Witness Simon Parry, 44, said he heard a “bang” and that, “a lot of police vehicles came very quickly and were very quick to evacuate the area.”
Appears somebody has driven into the gates of Downing Street pic.twitter.com/jp5pVyrfYj
— Matthew (@MatthewTorbitt) May 25, 2023
Witnesses reported seeing armed officers pointing tasers at the driver whilst he was detained on the ground.
It has since been confirmed that the vehicle is registered to a London address, but the man’s identity has not been revealed. From photographs taken at the scene, he appears to be white and middle-aged.
Number 10 have confirmed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Downing Street at the time of the incident, but no one was injured.
🚨 Watch the moment a man, who drove into the gates of Downing Street, was dragged out the car and arrested. pic.twitter.com/RVQimCu2fS
— GB News (@GBNEWS) May 25, 2023
The Metropolitan Police have since confirmed that a man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving, but that the incident is not being treated as terror related.
The area in Whitehall, the main road which runs through the heart of several government offices, was partially evacuated following the incident that took place shortly after 4pm.
The road has since reopened but police tape remains in place at the scene.
It is understood that the vehicle has also been searched and a mobile phone taken away as evidence. Sniffer dogs were also brought in to inspect the car, but no drugs or explosives have been reported.
UPDATE: The Metropolitan police have released the following brief statement:
“A small cordon remains in place outside Downing Street after a car collided with the gates earlier this afternoon.
“The incident is being dealt with by local officers in Westminster and isn’t currently being treated as terror-related.”