Suspect arrested after ramming car into UK PM’s 10 Downing Street office

1685037585 Suspect arrested after ramming car into UK PMs 10 Downing
Police officers look at items inside the car that was involved in the incident on Thursday. — AFP
Police officers look at items inside the car that was involved in the incident on Thursday. — AFP

On Thursday, a man was arrested after allegedly crashing his car into the gates of the United Kingdom Prime Minister’s office in central London. The gates guard the entrance to Downing Street and are the first line of security, with armed police stationed at the entrance. The incident occurred at around 4:20 PM (3:20 PM GMT) and the man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving, Scotland Yard said in a statement. Overlooking the Houses of Parliament, the area has a high security presence with barriers on the footpath and in front of government buildings following previous incidents. However, no injuries were reported in this incident, and police added that they were still investigating the matter.

British media reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was present in the building at the time of the incident and left soon after. Video footage of the incident showed a silver car driving slowly across Whitehall, where various government ministries are located, and then mounting the footpath before hitting the metal gates. The car appeared to be a Kia, with its boot open, and was later surrounded by police cordons.

In 1989, large gates were put up at the entrance to Downing Street as a result of IRA bomb attacks in London. The group then launched three homemade mortar shells at the Prime Minister’s residence in 1991. Therefore, Downing Street has a tight security presence, and official cars entering the street normally have to be checked before strengthened bollards are lowered to let them through.

In 2017, a man drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement close to the Parliament, killing four people. He then crashed the car into the fence surrounding the Parliament and ran into the grounds where he fatally stabbed a police officer. He was shot dead by an armed police officer.

Simon Parry, 44, who witnessed the incident, said, “I heard a bang and looked up and saw loads of police with taser guns shouting at the man. A lot of police vehicles came very quickly and were very quick to evacuate the area.” Dean Parker, 36, part of a protest on the opposite side of the street, said the driver “didn’t look distressed. He looked like he must have had some sort of episode or something”.

— Additional input from AFP was taken for this article.