Sunday 20 August 2017

Police arrest man found 'with knives in rucksack' near UK parliament on terror charge

  • Man (20s) arrested on suspicion of planning 'acts of terrorism'
  • Armed officers wrestled suspect to the ground
  • No 'immediate known threat' say police
  • Area near UK parliament in lockdown with roads closed
Police at the scene where a man has been arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (PA/Twitter feed of @joshdcaplan)
Police at the scene where a man has been arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (PA/Twitter feed of @joshdcaplan)
Police at the scene where a man has been arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (PA/Twitter feed of @joshdcaplan)
Forensic investigators recover knives after man was arrested on Whitehall in Westminster in central London, Britain, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Forensic Officers looking at with knifes at the scene after a man was arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 27, 2017. See PA story POLICE Whitehall. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A man has been arrested in Whitehall with a rucksack containing knives.

Armed police detained the man close to Parliament Square and the scene of last month's terror attack by Khalid Masood.

The man is being held on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and planning acts of terrorism, Scotland Yard said.

The bearded suspect, who was dressed in dark clothing, was wrestled to the ground on a traffic island at the Parliament end of Whitehall, close to the Foreign Office and the entrance to Downing Street.

Forensic Officers looking at with knifes at the scene after a man was arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Forensic Officers looking at with knifes at the scene after a man was arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
A man is held by police in Westminster after an arrest was made on Whitehall in central London, Britain, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

No one was injured in the incident.

In a statement police said:

"A man has been arrested in Whitehall this afternoon, at approximately 14:22, following a stop and search as part of an ongoing operation.

"The man was arrested in Parliament Street, junction with Parliament Square, by armed officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command.

"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.

"He is being detained under the Terrorism Act and is in custody in a south London police station.

"Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command are continuing their investigation, and as a result of this arrest there is no immediate known threat."

Images from the scene showed three knives on the ground close to a brown rucksack.

Police pick up a knife at the scene after a person was arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (Picture: PA wire)
Police pick up a knife at the scene after a person was arrested following an incident in Whitehall in London (Picture: PA wire)

An officer in forensic overalls could be seen taking photographs of the knives.

The suspect was detained at the scene for several minutes within view of journalists and passers by before he was eventually taken away in a police vehicle.

Recruiters Harry Peasnell (27) and Andy Burnage (22), were leaving the adjacent building which houses various Government offices after a meeting with officials when they were told over the tannoy the usual entrance on to Whitehall was closed.

As they made their way back towards Parliament from the alternative House Guards Road entrance they said they were pushed back up Great George Street by several plain clothes police officers.

They then made their way to Parliament Square where they said they saw a man in his 20s or 30s, who they thought was the suspect, being spoken to by police next to the wall of the offices.

Mr Peasnell, who says he regularly has meetings in Westminster, said police were "quick on the scene" and that he was not worried like he was during the terror attack in the area just weeks ago.

"Last time all the buildings were on lockdown and no one was allowed to leave," he said.

Westminster has been on a state of heightened alert since Masood launched his attack on March 22, killing five people, including Pc Keith Palmer.

Masood drove at pedestrians before stabbing Pc Palmer as he guarded the cobbled forecourt of the Palace of Westminster. He was shot dead by police.

More to follow....

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