Saturday 20 January 2018

Man armed with knives arrested in Westminster: Here's what you need to know

By Taylor Heyman

The police say they have recovered knives from the man.

A man armed with several knives has been arrested in Whitehall on suspicion of planning a terror attack, Scotland Yard said.

Here’s what we know so far.

What happened?

A suspect carrying a rucksack containing at least three knives was detained “following a stop and search as part of an ongoing operation,” police said.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that he was held at approximately 2.22pm on Thursday by armed officers from the Specialist Firearms Command.

It went on: “The man, aged in his late 20s, 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.”

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.

Was the incident terror-related?

“He is being detained under the Terrorism Act and is in custody in a south London police station,” said the statement.

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

The name of the bearded suspect, who was dressed in dark clothing, has not yet been released.

Where did the arrest take place?

The suspect was wrestled to the ground on a traffic island at the Parliament Square end of Whitehall, close to the Foreign Office and the entrance to Downing Street.

Images from the scene showed three knives and what appeared to be a mobile on the ground close to a brown rucksack.

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

A builder working on the road nearby said: “I saw the police officers catch him. They caught him and got him on the ground.”

Asked if the suspect was waving knives, acting aggressively or shouting, the witness said: “No.”

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.

Press Association

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