Car drives into Downing Street: Armed police arrest man after silver hatchback hits front gates as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak works inside
A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving after a vehicle drove into the gates of Downing Street.
The silver Kia car crashed into the gate around 4.20pm today, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
A video broadcast on the BBC shows the car moving towards the gate at a relatively slow speed and then braking almost to a stop before continuing to enter the gate.
Despite the low-speed crash, people can still be seen nearby quickly fleeing the area. Police said there were no reports of injuries and an investigation is ongoing.
Witnesses claim the driver was facing the floor when he was arrested. A photo appears to show officers leading a handcuffed man away from the crime scene.
Shortly after the incident, a video posted online showed a convoy of cars exiting the back of number 10 after crashing into the gate. Officers apparently saw the vehicle searched as it remained outside No. 10.
Rishi Sunak was working from Downing Street this afternoon, sources say. The Prime Minister, who should have left No. 10 anyway, left after the crash.
This photo appears to show a handcuffed man being led away from the scene
One person has been arrested after a car crashed into Downing Street front gates (pictured)
Officers appear to be searching the silver Kia hatchback that crashed into the Downing Street gate this afternoon
This image shows how the car drove over a line of traffic in Whitehall and hit the Downing Street gate
Police opened the cordon restricting access to the Whitehall area outside Downing Street where a car hit the Downing Street gate.
Dozens of members of the public walked away as armed officers stood guard at the crashed car.
Asked about the mood in the immediate aftermath, witness Simon Parry, 44, said: ‘We saw people running in panic and we saw people who were agitated.’
Mr Parry claims the driver appeared to slow down before reaching the Downing Street gates, having driven off from the opposite side of the road.
“I heard a bang and looked up to see crowds of police officers with taser guns yelling at the man,” he said.
“Many police cars came very quickly and were very quick to evacuate the area.”
Mr. Parry added, “There were sniffer dogs and an explosives disposal squad.”
Police added that there are no reports of injuries and an investigation is ongoing
Police cordoned off much of Whitehall after the car rammed the Downing Street gates
Large parts of Whitehall were closed to the public and vehicles following the incident, with barriers blocking access to the street from outside the Ministry of Defence.
Pedestrians were turned away from the main road around Downing Street in central London.
City of Westminster Police tweeted: ‘At around 4:20pm a car crashed into the Downing Street gates on Whitehall.
“Armed officers arrested a man on the spot on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving.”
It is clear that the anti-terror police are not involved in the investigation at this stage.
The incident comes as many officials leave their offices in the area for the day.
The head of the British government has lived in Downing Street since 1735, when it was given to Sir Robert Walpole by George II.
Since then, No. 10 has endured the Blitz and an IRA mortar attack in 1991, which sent one of lobe projectiles firing into the garden just yards from where Prime Minister John Major was chairing a cabinet meeting.
No one was killed in the incident, but it left the garden damaged and blew into the windows of neighboring houses. The Prime Minister and his staff were transferred to Admiralty Arch while No. 10 was repaired.
This is a breaking story, more to follow.