Westminster terror alert: Man arrested just 100m from Downing Street
Armed officers have arrested a man in connection with preparing a terror attack just yards from Downing Street.
Police say the 27-year-old was carrying a rucksack containing several knives – and forensic officers were seen examining knives on the pavement.
The suspect was known to counter-terrorism police and British intelligence agencies prior to his arrest, according to Sky sources.
A man is led away by police in Westminster after an arrest was made on Whitehall
Roads around Whitehall were locked down as officers carried out the arrest, pushing the man to the ground before holding him at the scene.
The Metropolitan Police said the man was stopped at 2.22pm as part of an ongoing search operation. He has been taken to a south London police station where he is being held under the Terrorism Act.
He was arrested on the Parliament Street junction with Parliament Square, close to the scene of last month’s terror attack which killed five people including PC Keith Palmer on 22 March.
The Prime Minister was not at Downing Street at the time of the incident
The Prime Minister was not at Number 10 at the time of the incident but she is being kept updated about the incident on Whitehall, her spokeswoman said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Thanks to all officers who dealt swiftly & professionally with the incident in Whitehall. The Met Commissioner has briefed me on the arrest.”
No one was injured in the incident, and Whitehall has since reopened northbound.
A forensic investigator recovers a knife after man was arrested on Whitehall in Westminster, central London
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “The man, aged in his late twenties, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.
“Knives have been recovered from him.
“Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command are continuing their investigation, and as a result of this arrest there is no immediate known threat.”
Sky News Political Correspondent Lewis Goodall said: “A witness said at one point he was taken to the ground – he was wearing a black tracksuit. Police surrounded him.
“There are various police officers here, both armed guards and forensic officers who are examining the scene. Earlier, we managed to get in the thick of it and we could see a bag clearly with a selection of knives which are being examined.
The moment the suspect was arrested
“This is one of the busiest thoroughfares in London, you’ve got thousands and thousands of people working in government departments among other things and the area has come to something of a standstill.”
A builder working on the road nearby said: “I saw the police officers catch him. They caught him and got him on the ground.”
Asked if the suspect was waving knives, acting aggressively or shouting, the witness said: “No.”
The 27-year-old has been taken to a south London police station
Courtesy of Sky News