Police officer is sprayed in the face with mysterious substance outside parliament by suspect who has fled
A police officer was sprayed in the face with a mysterious substance outside Parliament by a suspect who fled the crime scene last night after a major security breach.
The Metropolitan Police said the officer was attacked with the substance around 8pm yesterday while on duty at the Palace of Westminster in Millbank, central London.
Police are using a helicopter to search for the suspect, who ran towards Victoria Tower Gardens after the incident. The officer suffered minor irritation to his face and has been examined by the London Ambulance Service, Scotland Yard said. He did not require hospital treatment.
It comes hours after a man was arrested after allegedly climbing a fence near the Houses of Parliament before being tasered and pinned down by armed police. The suspect came through the gate in front of the building before officers dragged him to the ground.
A photo shows the unnamed intruder clambered over two fences before being held on the grass at New Palace Yard as police turned their guns on him. Another image showed a bicycle left on the road just yards from the Palace of Westminster. A later photo showed the man guarded by two police officers with his arms tied behind his back in handcuffs.
Witnesses claimed he climbed the fence before being tasered by police. The Met said he was arrested at Carriage Gates on suspicion of entering a protected area, but added it was not being treated as terror-related. Last night, police said he is still in custody and the investigation is ongoing.
The suspect entered through the same entrance where PC Keith Palmer was brutally murdered in a terrorist attack in 2017.
It comes hours after a man was arrested after allegedly climbing a fence near the Houses of Parliament before being tasered and pinned down by armed police
One photo showed the intruder – wearing a wool hat, jeans and sneakers – being arrested on the grass near New Palace Yard as police turned their guns on him
Another depicted a bicycle left on the road just yards from Parliament, having traveled most of its distance from the main road
The suspect entered through the same entrance where PC Keith Palmer was brutally murdered in a terrorist attack in 2017
The man was dragged into the courtyard outside the building while yelling at the officers with hands on his shoulders.
He was later moved to another part of the site toward the exit while continuing to yell at the police. Officers then stopped him in the back of an oncoming police van as he bellowed, “My rights.”
Nearly a dozen police officers formed a perimeter around the area while he was being dealt with, as they were already on the scene over the prime minister’s questions and a large protest in Parliament Square.
The suspect entered through the same entrance where PC Keith Palmer (pictured) was brutally murdered in 2017
Elliot Keck, who works in the office of Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, said the man appeared to have climbed over the fence before being tasered by police.
Mr Keck, 27, said: “While he was being tasered, two armed officers had their guns drawn.”
He added: “When it was determined that he posed no threat, the armed police left and he sat up for a while before being taken to the van.” Mr Keck said the man had thrown away a bag that was also searched by police.
The entrance has been the focus of previous attempts to enter parliament, including those involving the murder of PC Palmer.
Khalid Masood stabbed the officer to death in March 2017 as he forced his way through the gates. He was shot dead – but had already killed four others with a car on Westminster Bridge.
MailOnline revealed that security spending in 2019 had increased by almost £10 million a year since the deadly attack – to an estimated £45 million a year.
The overhaul came amid fears of yawning loopholes, including weaknesses at Carriage Gates, no armed officers on the scene Sunday, and poor CCTV surveillance.
Two separate reviews recommended major changes to the defenses on and around the estate. In April 2017 – three weeks after PC Palmer’s death – larger and taller black iron security gates covered with mesh were installed.
They are now permanently closed unless a car needs access, but this was not the case when PC Palmer was murdered. There are also permanently armed officers at the entrance.
Details buried in the Houses’ accounts showed that the total security bill for the Westminster estate in the year after the terror attack was £40.15 million. That was up from £35.24 million in 2016-17.
The entrance has been the focus of previous attempts to enter parliament, including the one in which PC Palmer was murdered (pictured)
Khalid Masood (pictured above) stabbed the officer to death in March 2017 as he forced his way through the gates. He was shot dead – but had already killed four others with a car on Westminster Bridge
A police officer lays a single rose at the memorial to PC Keith Palmer in March at 2:40 p.m., the time of the Westminster Bridge terror attack four years ago
The carriage gates are depicted outside the Houses of Parliament that Masood was able to enter during his 2017 attack
Since then, the figure appears to have risen further. The Houses split the cost on a 30-70 basis, and Lords’ data shows it has contributed around £1.1million a month to security as of October.
That would make a total annual bill of £45 million. The bill does not include cybersecurity spending — which is also believed to have increased for fear of hacking attacks.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Around 3pm on Wednesday, December 1, a man was apprehended and arrested at Carriage Gates at the Palace of Westminster on suspicion of entering a conservation area.
“The investigation into the circumstances continues. This is not being treated as a terrorist incident.” Carriage Gates were locked up shortly after the breakthrough.
A House of Commons spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident on Parliament’s estate attended by police and security personnel.’