A man has been arrested after a car crashed into the gates of Downing Street, according to the Metropolitan Police. The individual is held on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving, but authorities have confirmed that the incident is not being treated as terror-related.
Witnesses reported seeing officers pointing Tasers at the man, who was apprehended and detained on the ground. No injuries were reported, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak was confirmed to be present at Downing Street during the incident.
The area on Whitehall, the main road that passes through several government offices, was partially evacuated following the occurrence around 16:20 BST. However, the road has since reopened, and the police cordon has been removed. At 19:45 BST, the vehicle involved was loaded onto a police recovery vehicle and taken away from the scene.
Law enforcement officers were observed searching the car and retrieving a mobile phone, placing it in an evidence bag. A forensic officer examined the vehicle, while sniffer dogs were also present at the site.
One witness, Simon Parry, recalled hearing a “bang” and witnessing police aiming Tasers at the suspect. He stated that a significant number of police vehicles promptly arrived and swiftly evacuated the area. Another witness, Matthew Torbitt, mentioned hearing a loud noise and being halted on Whitehall as the authorities secured the vicinity.
Footage of the incident captured a silver 2009 Kia, registered in London, slowing down as it approached the main entrance to Downing Street. The vehicle, seen on a BBC camera, crossed two lanes from the southbound side of Whitehall and headed toward Downing Street.
Although armed and unarmed police officers are stationed at the entrance to Downing Street at all times, vehicles can access it via Whitehall. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor were both present in Downing Street when the crash occurred, but Chancellor Sunak has since left for a planned visit.
BBC political correspondent Helen Catt, reporting from the scene, noted that the gate appeared to have sustained minimal damage, and Whitehall had returned to normalcy, with individuals freely entering and exiting Downing Street on foot.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who was caught up in the 2017 Westminster terror attack, commented on the incident, highlighting the delicate balance between public access and security measures around significant buildings. He emphasized the duty of care toward those living and working in the Westminster area and expressed ongoing concerns.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner explained that police have been preparing for rapid response to potential threats in central London for years, following high-profile attacks worldwide. He noted that any security alert near an iconic landmark triggers a significant response and recalled previous instances where Downing Street had been targeted, such as the 1991 Provisional IRA mortar attack that injured four people.