Man arrested after car crashes into Downing Street gate
The man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, as ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports
A man is being held by police after crashing into the gates at Downing Street, police have confirmed.
Armed officers arrested a man at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving, said City of Westminster Police, after the collision at around 4:20pm on Thursday afternoon. Footage exclusive to ITV News shows a man with grey hair in handcuffs being led away by the police.
There were no reports of any injuries and police enquiries are going to "establish the circumstances", the Met Police said.
The force added that no one was hurt and the incident isn't currently being treated as terror-related, police said. Any damage caused to the gate was not extensive.
An eyewitness told ITV News that the car that collided with the gates had stopped and reversed into position opposite the gates before driving towards them.
“He was heading towards Parliament Square, slowly. He stopped, reversed up the kerb – I thought he was going to hit the lamppost,” they said.
“There was a smash about 15 seconds later. He didn’t hit it [Downing Street gates] hard, he was probably going 15-20 mph as he’d only started across the road.
“He’d stopped, reversed then set off from 30 metres out."
The eyewitness praised the police for doing "a good job" and not overreacting.
It is understood Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was inside Number 10 at the time of the collision however has since left.
BBC footage of the collision showed a silver Kia hatchback driving toward the gate at a slow pace, before slowing further ahead of the moment of impact.
Witness Simon Parry, 44, 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."
A cordon was placed around the area of Whitehall, while images on social media showed a vehicle crashed into the gates, surrounded by emergency vehicles. The cordon has since opened and a tow truck removed the vehicle from the area.
This is not the first time a car has crashed into the Downing Street gate.
In 2000 a man was arrested after driving a Vauxhall Astra into the gate, injuring a female tourist who suffered a double leg fracture after pushing her three sons out of the way.
Stephen Bonnett, who was 27 at the time, avoided jail after causing £20,000 worth of damage to the gate. He was instead given three years on probation.